Microsoft invests in environmental justice - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, GHG Emissions  -  July 24, 2020

Microsoft invests in environmental justice

Microsoft announced this week an initiative in partnership with Sol Systems to develop 500 MW of solar energy with investments in minority communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

This is Microsoft’s largest renewable energy portfolio investment ever made. To develop this portfolio, the team will work with local leaders while prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses.

“We recognize that climate and environmental issues don’t impact every community the same way and we need to address environmental equity as a broader issue,” Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft, said in a statement. “Our work with Sol Systems is a first-of-its-kind initiative tying the purchasing of renewable energy to environmental justice and equity in under-resourced communities. What makes this partnership unique is that we will be working with local leaders, prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses and making community-lead grants and investments.”

Additionally, they will provide at least $50 million for community-led grants and investments that support educational programs, job and career training, habitat restoration, and programs that support access to clean energy and energy efficiency.

Microsoft noted that black and African-American communities have been found to be exposed to 1.54 times more hazardous pollution than white people and to a 50% higher rate of particulate pollution than the general population. This program for climate equity and environmental justice intends to focus on communities that are economically under-resourced, disproportionately impacted by pollution, and/or lack access to the benefits of the clean energy transition.

This initiative was one of several programs announced by Microsoft during the week, including new steps in the company's goal to be carbon negative by 2030, including their newest climate initiative, Transform to Net Zero, in which members not only commit to getting their own companies to net-zero but pursuing technology that allows all businesses to achieve net-zero.

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