As we come out of COP27 there is a renewed focus on tackling climate change. But it is a challenge we can only succeed in if we work together. At Microsoft I am fortunate to focus my efforts on sustainability, something I am deeply passionate about.
In this role, I get to work with so many organisations that are determined to collectively make a difference and accelerate our journey to net zero. One such organisation is Aberdeen City Council. I met with the Corporate Management Team and Alex Nicoll, co-leader recently to discuss their vision for the Council and its ambitious sustainability goals.
The team at Aberdeen sees acting on sustainability as a social and environmental duty. The Climate Change Scotland 2009 Act set out targets to reduce carbon footprints, make the best use of resources, reduce waste and protect water. It is something that Aberdeen City Council takes very seriously.
On the council’s own progress, Andy MacDonald, Director of Customer Services at Aberdeen City Council, said, “We will achieve net zero corporate carbon emissions by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets of a reduction of at least 48% by 2025 and a reduction of at least 75% by 2030. As a city at the heart of the energy sector, the energy transition is a vital priority for Aberdeen. Using skills, knowledge, and experience as a world-leader in energy, the city is investing in net zero technology, building low carbon infrastructure and reskilling and upskilling to support a just transition to net zero.”
This isn’t a new vision for the city. It began its journey to net zero several years ago. In 2020 the Council set out its Energy Transition Vision. This is its progressive plan to position Aberdeen as a climate positive city while helping to lead the world on the rapid shift to a net zero future.
The city has also launched Aberdeen Adapts, which is a framework for city-wide adaptation to changes to our climate. The framework incorporates the views of local organisations and communities, and sets the direction to build long term city climate resilience.
Working with its citizens is key to meeting these goals. In fact, it is critical. We are all in this together so only by bringing the community into the actions taken can we see the change we need.
The Council has developed a Net Zero City Routemap, along with its Energy Transition Vision, following public consultations and engagement with citizens. This collaborative approach with stakeholders, both public and private, and communities is what will allow Aberdeen to succeed. With investment in the plans going far beyond the Council and into the communities they are supporting, there is a collective effort to see real change.
The Council is already further along than many. It has been leading on low carbon technology with two hydrogen refuelling stations to service its growing hydrogen bus fleet. It has also rolled out LED street lighting, expanded its range of electric and hydrogen fleet vehicles, increased connections to district heating for some public buildings and council housing, and installed several green roofs across its buildings.
This overarching approach to reaching Net Zero means every part of the Council is being reviewed and changes made where needed. It also shows the citizens of Aberdeen that their Council is taking its commitment to everyone’s future seriously.
Technology will play a vital role in how Aberdeen City Council is able to achieve these goals. In how it is able to retrofit housing projects, in how it monitors scarce resources and in many other projects. This is where we come in. It is only when we work together that we can see real progress.
Find out more
The need for urgent action: COP27 and the road to net zero
Microsoft 2021 Environmental Sustainability Report
Accelerating the Journey to Net Zero study
Microsoft Sustainability Webinar: From COP26 to COP27
Resources to empower your development team
Get started with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability Training
About the author
Musidora joined the Microsoft UK Senior Leadership Team in February 2022 as Chief Sustainability Officer. She is accountable for driving sustainability outcomes for our customers, partners and internally. Prior to that, Musidora spent three years at Salesforce setting up and leading the Energy and Utilities Go to Market. She has extensive experience of the technology industry across hardware, consulting and software sales, over the past twenty years.
She featured at number 3 in the top 100 global sustainability leaders for 2022 in Sustainability Magazine, was named one of the top 100 female future leaders in 2020 by INvolve and Yahoo Finance UK, and was included in Kindness & Leadership’s Rising Star list for 2020.
Musidora is passionate about D&I and particularly in supporting more women in the STEM industries. She is an active coach, mentor and sponsor both inside and outside of the industry.