REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the company plans to remove more carbon from the environment than it emits by 2030 – with an even loftier goal of removing more carbon by 2050 than the company has ever produced.
Nadella told reporters on Thursday that the commitment will happen, “not just across our direct emissions, but across our supply chain too.”
Part of Thursday’s news was the announcement of a $1 billion climate innovation fund that will be used over the next four years. The company plans to buy, and fund, new carbon technology innovations in exchange for equity – and ongoing projects through debt funding.
“We are making the types of commitments that no company has made before,” said Microsoft’s President Brad Smith, “but they are the type of commitments we believe other companies will want to make in the years ahead.”
The announcement is a shift away from Microsoft’s previous work in purchasing carbon credits, or renewable energy credits – essentially energy certificates that confirm that electricity is being purchased from renewable energy sources.
The move is big, and has drawn applause from a variety of environmental groups – though some, like Greenpeace campaigner Elizabeth Jardim has pointed out that Microsoft continues to work with fossil-fuel giants like ExxonMobil, BP and Shell.
“To truly ‘cut the cord’ on carbon, as Brad Smith hopes to,” wrote Jardim. “Microsoft must end it’s AI contracts with Big Oil.”
Microsoft is responsible for about 16 million metric tons of emissions per year, according to Smith. That includes data centers, and the work involved in manufacturing.
“When it comes to carbon, neutrality is not enough,” said Smith. “We have to get ourselves to net zero.”
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