Microsoft has become the latest corporate giant to unveil ambitious emissions reduction goals, publicly pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by three quarters by 2030 against a 2013 baseline.
The company said the new target, which was unveiled on the sidelines of the UN’s COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn, would deliver a level of decarbonisation in line with the 2C temperature goal set out in the Paris Agreement.
Writing in a blog post, Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, said the company would meet the target through continued investments in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy capacity, following its separate commitment to source rising levels of energy from renewable sources.
He added that meeting the 2030 target would result in 10 million metric tons of carbon emissions being avoided.
Smith also stressed that there were compelling business reasons for setting a deep decarbonisation goal.
“As we expand our global cloud infrastructure, we will increasingly turn to renewable energy because it is a clean power source and gives us better financial predictability,” he wrote. “It’s good for the environment, our customers and our business. Our cloud-based programs to reduce resource consumption have already cut energy consumption at our main campus in Redmond, Washington by nearly 20 per cent, reducing emissions and our power bill… Put simply, the environment and our business both benefit each time we’ve implemented sustainability targets and goals.”
He urged other companies to set similarly ambitious emissions targets and argued that the IT sector had huge potential to help deliver decarbonisation across a wide range of industries.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud are enabling companies and governments to make smarter, real-time decisions that lower emissions and reduce resource consumption in areas from buildings to transportation to manufacturing to agriculture to the production and distribution of electricity,” he wrote.