Each year on April 22, Earth Day is observed around the world by people, governments and organizations that acknowledge how important protecting the planet is and commit to creating a more sustainable future. In early 2020, Microsoft put a stake in the ground to accelerate our own sustainability journey by announcing our commitment to become carbon negative by 2030 and to reduce our historical emissions by 2050. Since then, we’ve also committed to become water positive, zero waste, build a Planetary Computer, and to protect more land than we use.
We know these ambitions are bold, they must be paired with action and achieving them is a journey. . Our Microsoft 2020 Environmental Sustainability Report details progress on our commitments, reveals some of the big lessons we’ve learned and provides details about our specific areas of focus in 2021. In addition, the report includes information about the work some of our partners are doing to sustainably transform their businesses, while utilizing technology including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Platform, data and AI to help other organizations achieve their sustainability goals as well.
Partner innovations drive more sustainable practices.
As a partner to the U.N. Microsoft has pledged to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), a set of 17 initiatives adopted by member states in 2015, focused on impacting the world for good by 2030. Making an impact starts with bringing solutions to market. As tech innovators and leaders, our partners are leveraging the Microsoft cloud, data science and AI, and working to drive environmental sustainability through exciting programs and solutions. Our #BuildFor2030 campaign highlights Microsoft partners whose technology solutions align with these Sustainability Development Goals and are powering a more inclusive economy. In honor of Earth Day, we want to showcase some of these partners.
Optimizing smart places for a more resilient future
Buildings are some of the biggest contributors to the global climate crisis.  Many of the Microsoft-powered partner solutions featured in our #BuildFor2030 campaign are empowering customers to understand, minimize and manage the environmental impact of their own buildings and spaces:
- Honeywell is building AI-automated solutions that are helping customers save energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint by optimizing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) operations.
- BuildingMinds is helping real estate managers execute data-driven strategies to improve resource efficiency, drive decarbonization and future-proof buildings against climate risk.
- bGrid is using the Internet of Things (IoT) and open API to connect and automate systems—integrating everything from lighting and climate systems to third-party applications to optimize the energy efficiency of buildings.
Learn more about carbon, water and waste partner solutions in our new Sustainability for Smart Buildings e-guide.
Driving operational efficiencies and more responsible supply chain practices
Partners are also helping manufacturers and food producers gain operational efficiencies and influence more responsible supply chain practices:
- ABB solutions optimize the performance and efficiency of factory equipment from drives and motors to pumps and bearings. Enhanced visibility into the condition of equipment helps managers fix problems faster, optimize energy usage and extend the lifespan of equipment, which reduces waste.
- Agrivi’s farm management software enables growers to aggregate data from many sources to establish sustainable practices while maintaining quality and ensuring traceability of products through their supply chain.
- AVEVA offers businesses the insights they need to drive sustainability by optimizing energy use, connecting teams to drive collaborative innovation and increasing efficiency.
Solutions from systems integrator and advisory partners drive business transformation.
Our systems integrator and advisory partners are also working with companies around the world, applying their deep industry expertise and delivering Microsoft-powered sustainability solutions to drive efficiencies, enable business transformation and protect the planet:
- Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft are combining their expertise in cloud, data, AI, IoT, digital twins and digital transformation to help utility and energy companies in the United Kingdom to transform the energy system and lower the cost of decarbonizing electricity, to achieve its net-zero target for carbon emissions by 2050.
- Through the Better Working World Data Challenge, EY is encouraging students and early-career data scientists to leverage Microsoft Azure, data analytics and AI to develop improved wildfire management solutions.
- Infosys REF-OR-M Eco Watch – Sustainability Solution is helping customers across industries achieve their sustainability goals by enabling efficient data collection and monitoring, auditing and rule-based approvals, stakeholder management, analytics, tracking and management to ensure better adherence to sustainability standards and to have a path to achieve their enterprise sustainability objectives.
- KPMG worked with the Microsoft Devices group to assess the level of circularity of Surface products and to identify a sizable opportunity to increase cycled resources into product design and increase recycled content into production.
- PWC’s governance ESG Pulse solution is used by teams and clients to better understand the quality and transparency of their ESG data. This tech-enabled service helps companies assess maturity, reduce potential risks, recalibrate efforts, measure progress and tell their ESG story to stakeholders.
Device partners help drive sustainability from start to finish
Our hardware partners deliver innovative devices and demonstrate their commitment to the sustainability of our planet through the examination and optimization of their own operations and by sourcing renewable or ocean-bound plastics into their PCs.
- Acer and ASUS have expanded their sustainability practices with changes to products, packaging and manufacturing processes. Dell, HP and Lenovo have multiple devices that are sustainably built with recycled materials.
- Dell’s Latitude 5000 series and Precision 3560 are the first PCs to use bioplastic tree waste in their design. Dell estimates these Latitude 5000 series design changes will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions equivalent to those created by driving 24.2 million miles and save enough energy to power 5,564 average-size homes for a year.
- HP offers a sustainable PC portfolio with more than 50 products for home and business containing ocean-bound plastics. This includes the first consumer notebooks containing ocean-bound plastics, the Pavilion laptop, which HP estimates will keep about 92,000 plastic bottles out of the ocean and landfills. The HP Dragonfly G2 and HP EliteBook 840 G8 Aero commercial PCs are also built with ocean-bound and post-consumer recycled plastics.
- Lenovo has participated in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) for PC program for more than 10 years and continues to register at the gold and silver levels, meaning that their devices are created, delivered and disposed of in the most eco-friendly manner possible. The vast majority of ThinkPad laptops are EPEAT Gold rated, including the ThinkPad X1 portfolio. In addition to EPEAT certification, Lenovo has multiple devices that use closed-loop, post-consumer recycled content including the Lenovo Legion T5 gaming PC.
- At Microsoft, every device we produce is conceived, built, operated and retired with sustainability in mind. In fact, our plan is to achieve 100% recyclable packaging, for Surface devices by 2030. Learn more in our Devices Sustainability Report.
Giving new life to older devices through the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program
Reusing and recycling has always been important to Microsoft. Increased demand in the last year for PCs to meet work and learn-from-home needs has made bringing old devices back to life critical. Millions of PCs and other electronics are being repurposed through the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) program, in which partners decommission and refurbish PCs and servers and install the latest Windows software. Each year, 2 million devices are refurbished In North America, offsetting the equivalent amount of CO2 needed to make 2,000 round trips to the moon.
To help support digital inclusion, MAR partners provide the refurbished PCs to non-profit organizations, businesses, schools and homes. Recently, a group of companies and non-profits in Hong Kong took part in the MAR program and provided computers that were once used in offices to students in need, enabling them to gain access to a device so they could learn from home more effectively.
Working together to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable world
As Dr. Lucas Joppa, Chief Sustainability Officer at Microsoft says, “It’s what we all do together that will make a difference.”
No matter where an organization is in the sustainability journey, our partners’ devices and solutions, powered by the Microsoft cloud, can help organizations minimize environmental impact, drive value and accelerate business transformation. Together with our partners, Microsoft is dedicated to harnessing the power of technology to help everyone, everywhere, build a more sustainable future. For Earth Day this year, let’s recommit to protecting our planet. This important work represents some of the greatest challenges and biggest opportunities of our lifetime, and the benefits will be tremendous! Learn more about how to advance sustainability initiatives at Microsoft.com/sustainability, and explore Microsoft partner solutions featured in our #BuildFor2030 campaign in Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace.