Microsoft Shares an Update on its Sustainability Commitments

Posted on March 10, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Microsoft with 2 Comments

Microsoft has released today its annual sustainability report for 2021, where the company detailed the progress it made last year to become a carbon-negative company by 2030. This is a company-wide effort that also involves the Xbox team, which also published a separate update about its sustainability efforts.

The Redmond giant uses 3 different scopes to track its progress on its sustainability efforts: The scopes 1 and 2 take into account direct carbon emissions created by the company’s activities, as well as indirect emissions from the energy sources used to power office buildings or facilities. The scope 3, which represents the majority of Microsoft’s carbon emissions, includes indirect emissions from all other activities in which the company is engaged.

“We saw overall reduction in our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of about 17% year over year, through our purchasing of renewable energy. At the same time, we saw a rise in our Scope 3 emissions, which increased about 23% year over year,” Microsoft said today. The company explained that the increase in Scope 3 emissions last year was due in part to the impact of Xbox sales and usage during the pandemic.

“Our emissions outputs took place against a backdrop of significant business growth in 2021. In this time period our business revenue grew by 20%. We significantly expanded our global datacenter footprint to meet the increased demand for Microsoft’s cloud business and we saw a growth in devices sales, especially Xbox and associated usage due in part to the pandemic,” the company explained.

To reduce its Scope 3 emissions going forward, the company will be working with its suppliers across the world to help them decarbonize. Microsoft will also restructure its company-wide internal carbon tax to incentivize emissions reduction and continue to invest in carbon removal.

The Xbox team is also doing its part to reduce Microsoft’s environmental impact. Last year, the team updated the Energy Saver mode on Xbox console to make it use about 20 times less power than Standy mode when the console is not being used. This Energy Saver mode is also enabled by default when users set up a new Xbox console, which is the right thing to do since Xbox Series X|S consoles now boot very quickly thanks to their ultra-fast SSDs.

Moreover, Microsoft has also started using Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) resins in Xbox Series S consoles and some of the new Xbox Wireless controllers. The Xbox team has also committed to designing Xbox products accessories, and all Microsoft product packaging with 100% recyclable materials in OECD countries by 2030.

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Comments (2)

2 responses to “Microsoft Shares an Update on its Sustainability Commitments”

  1. RobertJasiek

    All fine and well but what about Surfaces?! Make them repairable, permit easy maintenance, allow replacement of batteries, standardise them, make them available for decades!

    • darkgrayknight

      Exactly. Microsoft is doing a lot of hand waving about these "big view" reductions, but really you can't go negative, ever. How much emissions are required to create "renewable energy" production? Solar panels and wind turbines are not zero emission cost to build, and have an upfront emission cost that takes a long time to overcome.

      The real point being, they could make products that can be repaired and maintained and even provide actual recycling of old Surfaces/Xboxes so they don't go to landfills.

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