According to Microsoft’s recent press release, the company plans to reduce and then remove its carbon footprint in the long run. Microsoft has set a goal to become carbon negative by 2030, and the tech giant’s CEO Satya Nadella also stated: “By 2050, we will remove from the environment all of the carbon we’ve emitted directly or by electrical consumption since our company’s founding in 1975.”

In a blog post, the company explained the danger of carbon emissions in the atmosphere:

The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. Already, the planet’s temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.

Microsoft has also published a video with a detailed explanation of the math behind the company’s commitment.

Microsoft’s decision somewhat differs from initiatives of other tech giants who only commit to being carbon neutral. The difference between being carbon neutral and carbon negative is that becoming carbon negative means removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that the company emits, while being carbon neutral means releasing net zero carbon emissions.

The president of the tech giant, Brad Smith, said: "While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so.”

Microsoft has developed a detailed plan of achieving its ambitious goals, and it includes seven main principles.

  1. Grounding in science and math.
  2. Taking responsibility for the company’s carbon emissions that will imply cutting them by more than half by 2030.
  3. Investing $1 billion to the new Climate Innovation Fund that will help develop carbon reduction and removal technologies and "accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies."
  4. Developing technologies to help customers and suppliers reduce their carbon footprints.
  5. Publishing a report on the company’s progress every year.
  6. Supporting new public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon reduction and removal.
  7. Making it possible for the company’s employees to contribute to carbon reduction efforts.

Microsoft emits about 16 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year, and it’s the number that the company is going to cut in half across its supply chain by 2030. By that time, it will convert to renewable energy sources, increase the use of electric vehicles on campus, and expand its internal carbon tax.

There’s a variety of methods that could remove carbon from the atmosphere. They are planting new forests, capturing carbon directly from the air, putting carbon back into the ground, etc. Although technologies that would allow us to capture carbon directly from the air don’t exist for now, Microsoft is determined to develop them, namely by investing in the Climate Change Innovation Fund.

In conclusion, the company stated:

Reducing carbon is where the world needs to go, and we recognize that it’s what our customers and employees are asking us to pursue. This is a bold bet — a moonshot — for Microsoft. And it will need to become a moonshot for the world.