By 2050 Microsoft will have removed its entire historical carbon footprint by negating all the carbon it has produced since it was founded in 1975, the company announced today, describing its plan as a “moonshot”. 

By 2030 Microsoft plans to be completely carbon negative – removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits – through a series of measures including switching to entirely renewable energy, electrifying its vehicles, and extending its internal carbon fee to supply and value chains.

The moves mean Microsoft will outpace tech rival Amazon which currently has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. Google says it has been carbon neutral for over a decade, while all of Apple’s facilities now run on renewable energy.

But Microsoft argues companies now need to move beyond neutrality and there is an “acute need” to actively reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere. 

“While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith. 

“That’s why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint.”

Carbon plan

Microsoft’s plan, outlined in a company blog post by Smith, is to cut its carbon emissions and the emissions of its supply and value chain by more than half in the next decade. The company says it will expand its internal carbon fee to apply to emissions of suppliers and value chains; share Microsoft’s carbon reducing technology with suppliers and customers; and committed US$1 billion to a “climate innovation fund”.

From 2021, carbon reduction will become an “explicit aspect” of the procurement process for Microsoft’s supply chain. 

By 2025 Microsoft plans to run all its facilities on 100 per cent renewable energy. And by 2030 all of Microsoft’s campus vehicle fleet will be electric.

The company says it will document progress in a new annual Environmental Sustainability report.

Smith says Microsoft is pushing beyond carbon neutrality because it is “an area where we’re far better served by humility than pride”. 

“And we believe this is true not only for ourselves, but for every business and organisation on the planet.”

Smith concluded, “This is a bold bet — a moonshot — for Microsoft. And it will need to become a moonshot for the world.”

“It won’t be easy for Microsoft to become carbon negative by 2030. But we believe it’s the right goal. And with the right commitment, it’s an achievable goal.”

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