The realities of climate change are increasingly hitting home, regulations are rising, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) assets are growing upward of 15 percent annually (Bloomberg, 2022).1 With all this happening, organizations are looking to quickly advance their own sustainability progress and opportunities, but recording and reporting that progress remains challenging for many. Measuring and monitoring sustainable transformation at scale requires data-driven solutions.
Based on more than a decade of work to reduce our own environmental footprint, we introduced Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability to help other organizations accelerate their sustainability progress. With support from our partners, we’re continuing to add ESG capabilities and release updates to our extensible platform. The goal is to help organizations around the globe unify sustainability data intelligence and more easily track and reduce the environmental footprint of their operations and value chains. Here’s what’s new.
Reining in more elusive Scope 3 emissions data
With Microsoft Sustainability Manager, organizations can store and report on emissions data across Scopes 1 and 2 as well as harder to track Scope 3 indirect value chain emissions that account for a disproportionate share of most organizations’ footprints. Learn more about Scope 3 emissions calculation.
To make it easier for organizations to calculate emissions accurately, the solution includes prebuilt calculation methodologies for Scopes 1 and 2 and more than half of the 15 categories of Scope 3, so far. The latest calculation models added include:
- Category 5: Waste generated in operations.
- Category 8: Upstream leased assets.
- Category 13: Downstream leased assets.
With this update, we’re enabling organizations to ingest waste data, track waste partners, track disposal methods and materials, and make required calculations based on out-of-the-box or tailored models.
Customers can also track any fuel- or power-related emissions that occur within their operations from a leased facility or asset, calculate the emissions according to activity and reporting needs, and set and track goals for future efficiencies and reduction.
Other enhancements to help customers boost and scale their efforts
Microsoft Sustainability Manager now provides richer capabilities for usability, security, goal tracking, and more. New features enhance user role assignment and access management capabilities and improve error handling with even more actionable error messaging. Users can better analyze and understand emissions by comparing monthly performance year over year and drilling into emissions sources and activities by organizational unit, to six levels deep, through a new deep analysis page.
Scorecards and goals now support the addition of subgoals and the creation of timebound parameters for goal status. For example, a rule can be created to show a goal as “on track” or “at risk” when emissions reach a certain level within a specific period.
We’re also expanding Microsoft Sustainability Manager availability in the United Kingdom and Asia Pacific regions to better serve customers in those areas soon.
Get more details about these enhancements and others.
Expanded data model enables tracking of water data and finer configurability
The publicly available Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability data model that centralizes customers’ sustainability data in the cloud with a common data language has already been helping customers streamline calculations and reporting. We’ve updated the data model to enable the addition of custom entities, ingesting unique attributes like leaked emissions from a lab or emissions caused by electrified fleet modernization. This enables customers to tailor calculations to address their unique business needs.
Building on our promise to support organizations’ ability to address a broad scope of sustainability issues, we’re excited to announce the expansion of the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability data model schema for water data as well as carbon emissions data.
Learn more about our data model.
Tracking emissions from using Microsoft Cloud services is now easier than ever
Now generally available, the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 helps organizations quantify emissions related to using Microsoft 365 core services (including Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and other services). Using the app, they can also estimate emissions they’ve already avoided by using the cloud instead of on-premises versions of Exchange and SharePoint. A new carbon intensity tab allows organizations to quickly quantify average emissions per active user and compare those to other common sources of emissions like driving a gas-powered vehicle. Read the announcement.
We’ve updated the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft Azure that enables Microsoft customers to view and analyze Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions generated by Microsoft based on their use of Microsoft Azure cloud services. New visualizations make it easier to view reports on carbon emissions, cloud usage, and carbon intensity based on Azure subscription, Azure service, and Azure region. New options make it easier to interpret information and prepare reports while reducing the size of data exports.
We’re excited to announce the upcoming preview of the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability application program interface (API) to help Azure customers gain transparency into the carbon impact of their cloud usage with easy access to their emissions data by scope, Azure subscription, Azure service, and Azure region. Access to APIs will be available via a self-serve portal from Microsoft Cloud Solution Center.
Environmental Credit Service to enable end-to-end ESG asset lifecycle tracking—now in preview
Voluntary environmental markets, including carbon markets, are struggling to mature and scale to meet the rising demand for trustworthy and traceable environmental products like carbon credits, which organizations are seeking on their path to net zero.
With Environmental Credit Service, we’re overcoming these challenges with a common infrastructure to help optimize the supply ecosystem. The service will help decrease time to market and increase the quality and quantity of credits by automating, simplifying, and better securing the lifecycle processes that are used by ecological project owners, verifiers, and registries—ultimately giving credit purchasers more confidence and fueling marketplace momentum. Stay tuned for emerging details.
Moving forward in lock step with our partners
Addressing sustainability challenges is a global undertaking. We’re grateful for our growing ecosystem of partners delivering Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability solutions to help customers unlock data, build impact reduction initiatives, and create more sustainable outcomes.
McKinsey, for example, recently announced the creation of an integrated solution that combines sustainability data intelligence from Microsoft Sustainability Manager with decarbonization planning and an execution engine using McKinsey Sustainability’s Catalyst Zero. This technological collaboration will enhance companies’ sustainability transformations by integrating their data from activities that produce emissions with initiatives to abate them.
Join the sustainability knowledge frontier with online learning paths
To stay up to date on how sustainability affects their organizations and how they can reduce their environmental impact, we’re inviting customers to find sustainability-related LinkedIn Learning modules and Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability learning paths through Microsoft Cloud Solution Center. We’re also introducing new technical guidance in the Well-Architected Framework, helping customers and partners learn how to achieve sustainability goals using Azure.
With integrated capabilities from Microsoft and our partners, we’re enabling organizations to gain the transparency and insights they need to manage their environmental footprint, embed sustainability through their organization and value chain, and make strategic business investments that drive value.
We’re very excited about all of these new developments—and the continued innovation they’ll enable. Stay informed as we continue to roll out new ways to help organizations around the world build a more sustainable future.
1ESG May Surpass $41 Trillion Assets in 2022, But Not Without Challenges, Finds Bloomberg Intelligence