Tackling global pollution has become a key priority for organisations around the world, with many now aiming to become carbon neutral. Microsoft is a significant front-runner in this initiative, having invested years of effort into its cloud computing services to achieve more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and sustainable solutions. As part of this, Microsoft is also passionate about helping customers become more efficient and has created Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability to assist and guide organisations to a cleaner future.
One of the solutions available as part of this, is Microsoft Sustainability Manager, which enables businesses to record, report, and reduce environmental impact.
What is Microsoft Sustainability Manager?
Data can be manually provided or automatically collected by the tool, which is then used to generate an itemised report of which technologies are generating carbon and how much.
Once you have imported your data and have your automation in place, this will continually generate a live report that will highlight key areas that need attention and provide adjustment options to help your organisation to work towards carbon neutrality. The dashboard will help organisations to quantify the greenhouse emissions of their usage of M365 applications such as Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.
Let's look at 2 examples that are currently affecting organisations’ sustainability:
- Organisations’ networks, storage and resource utilisation efficiencies play a key part in overall emissions. Transitioning workloads from local servers to Microsoft Azure services can produce up to 98 percent more carbon efficiency and up to 93 percent more energy efficiency (depending on specific server usage, renewable energy purchases made, and other factors).
- Hardware such as laptops can have a large environmental footprint. Organisations need to be equipped to make informed decisions about recyclable and repairable devices, along with longevity considerations. Microsoft products are built with the entire device lifecycle in-mind; from building, to components and end-of-life management. Organisations need to be conscious of these factors when choosing company devices, as this will have a significant impact on environmental outcomes.
So how can Microsoft cloud sustainability benefit your organisation?
Microsoft Cloud Sustainability offers several benefits, including reduced carbon footprint, increased efficiency, access to sustainable technologies, and a positive reputation, making it a smart choice for businesses looking to operate more sustainably and work towards a brighter future. Let's take a deeper look into these benefits:
- Reduced carbon footprint: By using Microsoft's cloud services, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint as the infrastructure and data centres are managed by Microsoft, who are committed to reducing their carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy sources. This means that businesses can operate more sustainably without having to invest in and manage their own infrastructure.
- Increased efficiency: Microsoft's cloud services are designed to be energy-efficient, reducing the amount of energy required to run your business operations. This can help reduce your energy costs and minimise your environmental impact.
- Access to sustainable technologies: Microsoft's cloud services are constantly evolving and being updated with new technologies and features that promote sustainability. By using these services, your business can access and implement these sustainable technologies, making it easier for you to operate in a more environmentally friendly way.
- Positive reputation: By using Microsoft's cloud services, your business can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, which can help improve your reputation with customers, partners, and investors who are increasingly focused on environmental and social responsibility.
The Microsoft cloud sustainability portal is designed to provide transparency and accountability for Microsoft's initiatives to give customers a better understanding of their company's efforts to promote sustainability and benefits from Microsoft cloud services in a more environmentally responsible way.
The portal provides access to a range of resources and information, including:
- Sustainability goals and progress: your company's progress towards sustainability goals and updates, alongside that it provides information about Microsoft's sustainability goals, such as becoming carbon negative by 2030.
- Renewable energy sources: Provides information about Microsoft's use of renewable energy sources and its efforts to increase the use of clean energy in its operations.
- Energy efficiency: Information about Microsoft's efforts to improve energy efficiency in its data centres and other operations, and the impact this has on reducing carbon emissions.
- Carbon offset programmes: Information about Microsoft's carbon offset programmes and its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
- Case studies: Provides case studies and examples of how Microsoft's cloud services are helping customers to operate more sustainably.
- Emissions Impact Dashboard: provides transparency into the emissions that are related to usage of Microsoft cloud services, as well as new insights on how to optimise these services and the additional gains made from Microsoft's own improvements.
What are the requirements for Microsoft Sustainability?
- A Power BI Pro license
- An admin role with read/write permissions on your Azure tenant
Microsoft cloud for Sustainability is available in the following data centre regions:
- Asia Pacific (APJ)
- Europe (EUR)
- Great Britain (GBR)
- North America (NAM)
It’s clear that ESG needs to be a business priority, and alongside becoming a more responsible business, and it can also lead to value creation. Creating a strategy is not always simple, but often working with an experienced technology partner can be a good way of alleviating some of the pressure and enabling you to build a strong future for your organisation.
Written by Daniesl Bereczki, Cloud Solution Architect, Advanced