Microsoft recently announced bold plans to go carbon neutral within the next decade, as well as eliminating its entire carbon footprint by 2050 – removing “from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.”

This is a huge pledge that the tech giant admits will take decades to become a reality. From investing $1billion in a new climate change innovation fund to overhauling its procurement processes for its supply chain, Microsoft is committed to tackling what has become a global issue head on. As its blog explains, it’s not just the direct emissions from its business activities that contribute to its carbon footprint. It’s the materials in buildings. Business travel. The longevity of products. Electricity consumed when using its products. The list goes on.

According to a recent report from the AI Now Institute, the tech industry’s 2020 global footprint will amount to up-to 3.6 percent of global greenhouse emissions - largely due to the power demands of datacentres - and more than double what the sector produced in 2007. For context, the report claims such emissions are comparable to the aviation industry. Like, planes. Yeah. So that’s where we’re at…

And that’s why Microsoft should be praised for going public with such a tangible, measurable plan of action to set this record straight.

Nay-sayers might be quick to throw out terms like “green-washing” in response, but let us not forget Microsoft has purpose written into its DNA. Co-founder Bill Gates is nearly as well known for his philanthropy today than his leadership of the business – and while he might not hold as many shares in the firm as he once did, his legacy lives on for all to see.

We all have a duty to do what we can to tackle climate change – and Microsoft has been rightly lauded for its purpose-driven approach to building a more sustainable business over the next three decades and beyond.

Is your business taking steps to address its impact on the environment? How easy is it to implement such change? What’s your comms strategy, both internally and externally? We’d love to hear examples, as we examine the role purpose is playing for businesses more broadly in 2020 and beyond. 

Drop me a line if you're keen to discuss!