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Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability: Empowering organizations on their path to net zero

Microsoft and our partners have been investing in technologies across every industry and region to help companies face new and shifting market conditions. The rapid pace of this transformation has the potential to change the world for the better. In February, we announced a selection of industry-specific cloud offerings to bring together capabilities that customers…

Microsoft and our partners have been investing in technologies across every industry and region to help companies face new and shifting market conditions. The rapid pace of this transformation has the potential to change the world for the better.

In February, we announced a selection of industry-specific cloud offerings to bring together capabilities that customers and partners need as a foundation for further innovation. These industry clouds are an aggregation of our solution areas represented as vertical expressions of the Microsoft cloud.

At Inspire this week, we are announcing a new cloud offering in preview that will address an issue at the top of every customer’s priority list right now. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is designed to help companies measure, understand and take charge of their carbon emissions, set sustainability goals and take measurable action.

The world faces an urgent need to dramatically reduce its carbon consumption.

The world’s climate experts agree that people, companies, industries and nations must take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions. They are not alone: according to Accenture, 94% of top CEOs cite sustainability as important or very important to the future success of their businesses.

Reducing carbon emissions and addressing environmental equity requires collective measures to understand and mitigate environmental impacts.

Measuring the overall environmental impact of an organization is particularly challenging.

Organizations need to be able to record their environmental footprint, report to stakeholders, reduce their resource usage, remove their footprint through carbon offsets or recycling and replace high-footprint resources with low-footprint ones.

But doing this effectively means moving away from manually inputting data into spreadsheets, and toward a more seamless data flow via data connectors that provide automated, accurate, real-time data — and ultimately, turn those data-driven insights into action.

We are committed to accelerating the sustainability journey of organizations everywhere.

That is where Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability comes in. Drawing on the depth and breadth of the entire Microsoft cloud, this new cloud offering is designed to help companies take control of their environmental initiatives, offering a set of comprehensive, integrated and automated insights for organizations to accelerate each stage of their sustainability journey.

With Cloud for Sustainability, we’re creating a whole new category, going beyond capturing data to helping customers aggregate sustainability data in an actionable way. It includes Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings that can discover and connect to real-time data sources, accelerate data integration and reporting, provide accurate carbon accounting, measure performance against goals and enable intelligent insights for organizations to take more effective action.

Here are a few examples of scenarios that demonstrate how organizations will be able to leverage Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability to achieve their goals:

  • CIOs will be able to easily report on IT carbon emissions from the cloud, devices and applications as part of their department’s environmental footprint. They will then be able to connect their emissions data sources into one view for reporting.
  • Companies will be able to offer their customers a sustainability scorecard to track progress against their carbon emission reduction goals, inclusive of scope 1-3 emissions (i.e., emissions from a company’s owned sources, emissions from purchased energy and all other emissions).
  • Customers will be able to pinpoint specific emission areas and track if they are meeting their emission reduction goals. For instance, if an HVAC system is not on track to meet its prescribed emissions reduction target, the task can be assigned to operations to make the necessary improvements to reach that target.

The bottom line: Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability enables any organization more easily and effectively to record, report, reduce and replace their emissions.

Today’s announcement unlocks the ability for partners everywhere to visualize how Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability can enable new innovations for the benefit of our planet.

At Inspire, we are looking at how companies are building sustainability into their operations. In doing so, they are contributing new thinking and new solutions to the challenge. From digital supply chains that improve business processes and reduce carbon footprints to IoT sensors streaming real-time telemetry for predictive analytics, there is no shortage of examples of how technology can enable ambitious sustainability outcomes.

At some level, every industry is undergoing sustainable digital transformation. We see financial services customers using data and AI to assess their progress on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments and evaluate their exposure to climate risk. Manufacturing customers are moving from smart assets to smart factories to digital twins of their entire operations, enabling real-time optimization and unlocking new data-driven insights to cut carbon across their operations and supply chains. Retail companies are taking their supply chain management and optimization work and applying it to track the carbon footprint of products from farm to fork, field to fiber to consumer, and everything in between to reduce their emissions and deliver purpose-driven products to customers.

Personally, today’s announcement fills me with optimism because it is only the beginning. To learn more about what this announcement means across industries, head to microsoft.com/sustainability.

Tags: Cloud for Sustainability, Microsoft Inspire 2021, sustainability

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