Following the growing pressure from customers and their employees, Microsoft joins other tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google, in renewing its commitment towards fighting the climate crisis. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Microsoft announced that it plans to create the first-ever carbon neutral gaming console. The tech giant said they would start the rollout with carbon-neutral 825,000 Xbox consoles.
“The urgency of the climate crisis has by now fully been absorbed, and the conversation has turned to the practical matter of what needs to be done to mitigate the worst impacts of a rapidly changing climate and adapt to that which we cannot avoid,” the company said in a blog post penned by chief environmental officer Lucas Joppa.
Carbon-neutral Xbox and other promises to end climate crisis
As part of their promise, the company detailed four points of changes that they want to implement in their company and business operations. Aside from creating carbon-neutral Xbox consoles, the company also plans to realign their climate strategy to coopt the 1.5C strategy that scientists around the world are promising. That means that Microsoft vows to do its part to prevent the global temperature from going over 1.5 Celcius by capitalizing on renewable energy.
They said that their renewable energy target had been certified by the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) as aligned to a 1.5-degree Celsius future. “The certification is meaningful for two reasons — first, we believe that actions should be driven by the best available science, and SBTi uses that as a core criteria for approval and second, because what is most important is not just setting targets — it’s meeting them,” Joppa wrote, adding that science-based targets are very important in making progress that the world needs.
Furthermore, the company also made promises to extend its carbon reduction work into its supply chain. With that, it specifically means that they would set the target for their suppliers via its new SBTi-certified target which, if successful, would cut down their carbon footprint by at least 30 percent by 2030.
“Our supply chain referred to in carbon accounting as Scope 3 emissions as indirect carbon emissions associated with anything from manufacturing to customer use of devices to employee airline travel, are far larger than our operational footprint. This is true for many companies and nearly all technology companies,” reads the blog post.
Moreover, Microsoft said that they would be “putting technology in the hands of others for the good of the planet.” This promise would see the expansion of their AI for Earth program with new grant partners like Conservation X Labs, National Geographic Society, and the World Resources Institute.
“It’s important to note that while we’ve made progress on several fronts, there is still much work to do within Microsoft to embed sustainability more deeply across the company and into all that we do. We are committed to doing this work and being transparent about our journey. And we’ll continue to work with external organizations like the Science-Based Target Initiative and CDP, which have done so much to drive concrete, measurable change to hold us accountable and aligned to the best science,” Microsoft added.
Microsoft employees demand climate crisis mitigation from the company
The move of the tech company to renew its commitment to do its part to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis comes after an open letter from its employees have been published. The letter demands that the company should make a stand in ensuring a sustainable environment for the future. Specifically, the employees want Microsoft to cease contracts with companies that heavily rely on fossil fuels.
The open letter accuses Microsoft of being complicit to the environmental problems that the world is facing right now and demands that change should be done in order to reverse its contribution to the climate crisis.
“Microsoft makes millions of dollars in profits by helping fossil fuel companies extract more oil,” states the letter which refers to the recent partnership of Microsoft with an oil company. “As Microsoft workers, we’ve been made complicit.”
“If we want to make a real impact, all of us need to mobilize, work together, and demand a fundamental change in Microsoft’s priorities,” the letter adds. “It’s clear that the tech industry is one of the main culprits behind our burning planet, both in consuming a great deal of fossil fuels through power-hungry data centers and supporting Big Oil companies.”