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Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability: Make significant progress faster with new, empowered features

In recognition of Earth Month and the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report1 urging parties to hasten progress to net zero, we’re pleased to announce timely updates to Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. These new features deliver enhanced levels of insight (including Scope 3 waste data), data access and management, reporting, and customization to help organizations meet their goals and make progress faster. 

Round out insights with custom dimensions

Organizations can now add custom dimensions (Preview) to data model entities in Microsoft Sustainability Manager, helping to refine calculations and analysis. For example, they can associate activity or emissions data with other contextual data such as emissions intensity per number of employees. 

Once the data with custom dimensions are ingested, mapped, and calculated, it can be used to generate manufacturing intensities by domain. In the screenshot below, a dashboard shows emissions from laptop manufacturing by assembly line, model, and SKU.

Custom dimensions (Preview) applied to generate manufacturing intensities in Microsoft Sustainability Manager 

Drive momentum with data approval management  

Especially valuable for mature organizations with data management control workflows, data approval management (Preview) enables the staging of data in a pending state so it can be stored without impacting calculations, analysis, and reporting. Once reviewed and approved by authorized users, the data becomes available for all these functions.

Easily access Microsoft 365 usage-based emissions data 

Organizations can now access the Microsoft datacenter emissions data associated with their usage of Microsoft 365 services, including Exchange Online, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, using the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability API (Preview). The API uses our third-party–validated emissions calculation methodology to compute all three emissions scopes as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Microsoft 365 admins can enable access across the organization with role-based permissions, empowering teams to analyze the organization’s Microsoft 365 usage–based emissions data by scope, month, year, and region.  

Organizations can also configure access to their Azure usage–based emissions data via the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability API portal, which is discoverable in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Center.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability API (Preview) dashboard 

Get ahead on disclosure preparation with reporting enhancements  

Considering emerging disclosure regulations, one especially useful feature in Sustainability Manager is the ability to customize reports to include the sustainability information that’s needed, regardless of disclosure format.  

  • Now organizations can design a report that includes multiple types of sustainability information—for example, emissions data plus Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 activity data. This can drastically reduce the number of reports needed to manage and streamline disclosure preparation.
Selecting information type in Microsoft Sustainability Manager report preparation
  • Clarify period details by naming a reporting year, defining the report’s starting date, and applying a template to determine the number of periods that will be created. Once the report is created, the reporting year will be available for selection on the insights pages.
  • Enhance control of data by changing the status of a period from the default “open” to “closed” and help prevent changes to data during an audit or after a disclosure.  

Create custom views for analyzing emissions  

With allocations dashboard (Preview), organizations can track how they’re generating emissions by headcount, area, production type, or any method they can define. This feature allows organizations to assess how different internal metrics affect the overall emissions across their business.

Allocations dashboard (Preview) dashboard in Microsoft Sustainability Manager

Improve understanding of Scope 2 market- and location-based emissions 

Users can improve accounting for their Scope 2 emissions thanks to an additional calculation methodology, improved insights, and reporting. The new model (in preview) calculates location- and market-based emissions data together, enabling tracking and reporting on both types of Scope 2 emissions data for the same activity.

Expedite ingestion of Scope 2 energy activity data 

Data capture (Preview) enables organizations to leverage AI Builder to ingest purchased energy invoices. This involves training a custom optical character recognition model to detect key attributes from the invoices, using invoice collections to differentiate between energy providers. 

AI-driven energy invoice data capture (Preview) in Microsoft Sustainability Manager

Once trained, the model can be used within Microsoft Sustainability Manager to seamlessly upload and process further invoices, which can then be ingested as Scope 2 activity data.

Ingest diverse data from multiple sources with a guided experience 

With enhanced data processing, mapping, and transformation, users can more quickly import deconstructed data from single or multiple sources. The enhancements can also reduce the time it takes for solution onboarding, enabling organizations to speed up progress on their sustainability goals.  

Data can be added to Sustainability Manager in multiple ways, depending on the data type, source, user maturity, and import frequency. A new data importing guided experience includes Excel templates, a Power Query guided flow, and partner solutions. Users can flexibly apply any of these methods to ingest data. 

Data importing options in Microsoft Sustainability Manager

Users can also gain flexibility and control over data transformations and import a wide range of data by setting up just one import. They can add entities throughout the import setup step and find detailed guidance along the way to ensure success. Data transformation and data model attribute mapping can be done together in one process or as two separate steps, which makes it easier for different people to manage each task.

Defining data for ingestion in Microsoft Sustainability Manager

Accelerate environmental credit processes with Environmental Credit Service (Preview) 

New features in Environmental Credit Service (Preview) help clarify and speed up processes that ultimately enable the service to improve transparency and scalability in environmental market ecosystems through a common infrastructure and shared data standard. 

  • Identity handling (Preview) enables voluntary environmental market participants—such as environmental project suppliers, buyers, and marketplaces—to leverage their existing identities to interact with other ecosystem participants seamlessly via Environmental Credit Service. The service helps with handling identities as part of its multi-party workflows while the ecosystem participants still authenticate and authorize the identities.
  • Creation and management of processed claims (Preview), exposed via the Environmental Credit Service API, helps standardize and streamline the validation of environmental claims that are typically carried out by validation and verification bodies (verifiers). This can help speed up the screening and approval of claims by issuing registries.
  • Built-in role-based access control (Preview) through the service and the UI enables admins to grant, modify, or remove access rights from members of their organization. An admin can also manage access for assets across organizations and define the parties approved for collaboration. For example, if a credit supplier has pre-committed credits to a certain buyer and doesn’t want other buyers to view those credits, they can enable access for the designated buyer only.

Promote waste reduction with the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability waste data model (Preview) 

Built on the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability data model, the new, purpose-built waste data model (Preview) enables storing and accessing waste sustainability data. The data is prepared for sustainability use cases using waste quantity and quality measurement data linked with sustainability reference data.  

Users gain an enriched, unified view of waste quantity by waste type, source, and category across the company and facilities. They can also track and monitor the quality of the waste that’s being disposed of. These insights can be used toward waste reduction and building a circular economy.

The waste sustainability data model can be installed in the Dataverse environment from the Microsoft Cloud Solution Center.

Setting up the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability waste data model in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Center

In March 2023, we also announced the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability water data model (Preview), enabling efficient calculations, visualization, analysis, and reporting of water sustainability data. The water data model provides organizations with a unified view of water sustainability data to help them track against mandatory and voluntary reporting requirements using custom data model configurations, monitoring, and reporting.

Next steps 

Start tackling what’s next on your organization’s sustainability journey: Set up and configure Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

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Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

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1“AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023,” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2023.