Microsoft and Giving Back

Unless you’ve been living in some sort of complete isolation since 1975., I’m sure you have heard of Microsoft. Spearheaded by Bill Gates, the worlds geekiest billionaire, this behemoth of a tech company has defined the way we view and use computers through Windows, their operating system. Currently in its 10th iteration, and with a 80% overall market hold, Windows is here to stay for a long time and is undoubtedly the preferred system for the every day person. Microsoft also develops and frequently updates coding environments, they (infamously) fronted a whole new mobile phone operating system, and are arguably the largest competitor to the PlayStation in the gaming world with the Xbox console.

There are, of course, many more areas in which Microsoft stands as the de facto tech company, but as we all know, technology is one of the largest contributors to our carbon footprint. The scientific view on carbon is clear: it has created a blanket of gas which traps heat and is changing our environment rapidly with a near certain catastrophic outcome. Since the start of the industrial evolution in the 1700’s, humans have released more than 2 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. Surely Microsoft should deserve no praise as a huge contributor to this, right?


Well, not quite. Microsoft has just released an ambitious goal to be carbon negative by 2030., and by 2050. to completely remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or through electrical consumption since its inception in 1975. While Microsoft is no stranger to giving back to the world through philanthropy and a number of environmental projects, this is still an incredibly bold goal to set.

The technology required to achieve such a feat is either wildly expensive or not widely available; and that’s why the company is also launching a $1 billion fund to develop climate technologies for the rest of the world.

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Microsoft has been carbon-neutral since 2012—meaning they have invested in enough renewable energy projects and carbon offsets to balance out the emissions that they create themselves. They also began charging internal fees on their business units for their greenhouse gas emissions. One crucial step to achieving Microsoft’s goal of being carbon negative is to increase these fees, thus funding research and development into the necessary fields.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, President Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa announced the company’s new goals and their detailed plans for becoming carbon negative at an event at its Redmond campus.


“While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so. That’s why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint”

Microsoft President Brad Smith

In a slew of dark predictions and scary headlines, it is a refreshing perspective to have, especially coming from a company so large and should serve as an example to not just other companies, but to governments and individuals alike.