Working toward a net zero future: Evolving our work with energy companies

Today we shared an update on our 2021 progress against our sustainability goals. It’s been a year of progress and learning. Our commitment to climate extends to our broad ecosystem of customers, partners, and suppliers too.

This includes those customers within the energy industry. We believe that technology has an important role to play in helping the industry decarbonize, and this work must move forward in a principled manner – balancing the energy needs and industry practices of today while inventing and deploying those of tomorrow.

We have developed a set of principles to guide our work and have shared these principles with many of our existing energy customers and with our employees. In the spirit of transparency, we are outlining these principles externally, and providing more context around their impacts.

Microsoft’s energy principles

Microsoft will increase its engineering investments and efforts in low- and zero-carbon energy businesses to help accelerate the energy transition.

We will seek to expand work with companies across the energy sector on initiatives focused on low- and zero-carbon. This could include efforts such as renewables, distributed energy resources, electricity grid management, carbon management, hydrogen, geothermal, nuclear, and other emerging technologies that reduce emissions from fossil fuel operations.

Microsoft is committed to helping all customers, including all energy customers, in the development of effective net zero commitments.

This includes advising, consulting and providing technical and subject matter expertise.

Microsoft will sell its commercially available software technology and cloud services to all customers, inclusive of energy customers.

We will continue to make our commercially available software, including products like Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure cloud services and other off-the-shelf solutions, available to all companies who choose to purchase it.

Microsoft may provide technical and engineering resources to develop or co-develop specialized services for subsurface exploration and extraction of fossil fuels with energy customers who have publicly committed to net zero carbon targets.

Specifically, this includes leveraging Microsoft technical or engineering resources to develop or co-develop specialized subsurface exploration and extraction services for an energy customer or providing Microsoft product or service subscriptions at no cost to energy customers who have a net zero carbon target (covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions) that is set to be attained by 2050 or sooner.

We are motivated to act by the absolute outcome society must achieve – achieving a net zero carbon economy by 2050. And we are guided by a desire to help drive impact – to encourage invention and innovation – while not being prescriptive about proposed solutions. If the energy transition is going to be successful, we need the energy industry to be a part of the solution.

There is no question that society urgently needs a new normal when it comes to making progress on carbon reduction and the creation of a net zero, environmentally sustainable future that also ensures well-being, economic development and poverty alleviation for the world’s citizens. It’s a complex set of problems that requires a focus on innovation and an ability to make hard choices. At Microsoft we remain committed to being part of the solution.

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