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Made to measure: Sustainability commitment progress and updates

The climate is changing and calls to do something about it are intensifying. From the U.N. High-level Political Forum taking place this week in New York City to COP26 – the U.N.’s annual climate change conference in November – leaders are coming together to make decisions that will dictate the speed and scale of the global…

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The climate is changing and calls to do something about it are intensifying. From the U.N. High-level Political Forum taking place this week in New York City to COP26 – the U.N.’s annual climate change conference in November – leaders are coming together to make decisions that will dictate the speed and scale of the global effort to stabilize our climate system.

At Microsoft we are not only tracking these conversations closely but also engaging in them – and we are, in a way, mirroring them. In this blog we outline what will be the most critical infrastructure of a net zero carbon economy, commit to new goals intended to help engineer that infrastructure, highlight a major new product offering intended to assist customers around the world to record, report and reduce their own emissions; and provide an update on progress toward our commitments to become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030 and protecting ecosystems by building a Planetary Computer.

Microsoft’s 100/100/0 vision and commitment for a decarbonized grid

Every net zero scenario that scientists and politicians play out shares a common, and essential, element: a massive increase in electrification. Powering vehicles and manufacturing plants with electricity holds the promise of wiping out vast sections of the global emissions portfolio. But this only happens if the electrons supplying the electricity are generated from zero carbon energy sources (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, or point-source carbon capture and sequestration) and then stored and transported to where they are needed. Unfortunately, this is not the way the world’s grids are set up. Most electrons flowing onto grids today come from carbon intensive sources. Energy storage is extremely immature, and the grid infrastructure of today cannot efficiently respond to the varying production capabilities that zero carbon sources provide, nor the increasing consumption demands of a rapidly electrifying society.

By 2030 Microsoft will have 100 percent of its electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases.

At Microsoft we have a long-term vision that we refer to as 100/100/0 – that on all the world’s grids, 100 percent of electrons, 100 percent of the time, are generated from zero carbon sources. We call this a vision because we alone can’t control the outcome. Like other users, our datacenters and our offices around the world simply plug into the local grid, consuming energy from a vast pool of electrons generated from near and far, from a wide variety of sources. So while we can’t control how our energy is made, we can influence the way that we purchase our energy.

That is why today Microsoft is announcing its own 100/100/0 commitment – one that acknowledges the limits on our ability to control global grid infrastructure, but which maximizes our influence on it. By 2030 Microsoft will have 100 percent of our electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases.

Our influence is already significant in one dimension. Our existing commitment to execute power purchase agreements equivalent to 100% of our energy needs by 2025 has positioned Microsoft as one of the largest purchasers of renewable energy in the world. Over the last 12 months, Microsoft has signed new purchase agreements for approximately 5.8 gigawatts of renewable energy across 10 countries around the globe. This includes over 35 individual deals, including over 15 in Europe spanning Denmark, Sweden, Spain, U.K. and Ireland. This procurement brings our operating and contracted renewable energy projects to 7.8 gigawatts globally.

But we know we can do more. How much zero carbon energy we procure is important in helping decarbonize the grid, but so too is where, when and from whom we make our purchases. Moving forward we will be innovating our energy purchasing contracting to help bring more zero carbon energy onto the grid and move more high carbon intensity energy off the grid, helping to rebalance the carbon intensity of any grid on which we operate. We will match our purchasing of zero carbon energy with our consumption on an hourly basis. And we will do so on the same grid systems into which we are already connected.

This commitment will build upon the work we already have underway:

  • Temporal matching: A recent white paper authored by RMI, in partnership with Microsoft, highlights the potential for hourly energy monitoring tools to provide transparency into supply and demand for zero carbon energy. The paper illustrates that hourly renewable supply and demand matching strategies can help lay the groundwork for a decarbonized grid. Last November, we announced the availability of the first commercial 24/7 hourly energy-matching solution with our partner Vattenfall, which we will use to monitor energy use and zero carbon energy matching for our Swedish datacenters. Building on this work, we’re announcing a new 24/7 pilot in the Netherlands with energy provider Eneco and FlexiDAO, a technology supplier, which will match one of our Amsterdam datacenter’s hourly energy consumption with Dutch offshore windfarm Borssele. Microsoft will be a flagship customer of FlexiDAO’s 24/7 solution, which will enable Eneco customers including Microsoft to have access to FlexiDAO’s 24/7 renewable energy-matching tools at scale.
  • Spatial matching: We’re enabling more granular measurement with data called Locational Marginal Emissions (LMEs), which considers the condition of the power grid at the time and location that the clean energy was produced. We partnered with REsurety to create an LME tool on Azure that calculates the decarbonization impact of our renewable energy supply with greater accuracy, beginning first with a pilot in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
  • Purchasing partnerships: Working with energy suppliers across the globe, we were able to execute over 35 power purchase agreements:
    • With Volt Energy, a national African American owned solar development company, we have contracted a 250 megawatt portfolio of solar projects, the intent of which is to create new opportunities for under-resourced communities and to help pursue diversity in the renewable energy industry.
    • We progressed our partnership with bp to create renewable energy deal structures that incorporate multiple renewable energy pipelines in multiple global regions that will deliver clean energy that more closely aligns with our datacenter electricity demand.
    • Invenergy, a leading global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, provided more than 1,000 megawatts of new renewable energy agreements across the U.S. and Europe.
    • AEP Energy, with their expertise in the PJM energy market, will provide renewable energy to Microsoft from a portfolio of up to 560 megawatts of new renewable energy assets.
    • Our clean energy partnership with Shell continues to grow by progressing more than 300 megawatts of renewable energy contracts in the EU.

We know that our actions alone won’t decarbonize the grid, but we are committed to doing our part to help drive important market demand signals that influence the speed and scale at which the grid decarbonizes.

Enabling our customers and partners

The grid is not the only infrastructure that Microsoft can help decarbonize. Through new digital tools we can also assist our customers in decarbonizing their own operations and infrastructure. This was the motivation behind our announcement of a new Microsoft solution – the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability – that will enable our customers around the world to record, report and reduce their emissions on their paths to net zero.

Progress on our commitments​

As part of our commitment to be carbon negative by 2030, water positive by 2030, zero waste by 2030 and to protect ecosystems by developing a Planetary Computer, we have:

Impact Observatory developed the Global Land Map with technology and funding from Microsoft AI for Earth and Esri. Photo credit: Impact Observatory

Investing for the future​

Through our $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund, we’ve made direct investments in several companies to help them accelerate and scale their solutions, including:

  • NCX, formerly SilviaTerra, to help fund the creation of the largest forest carbon project by acreage in the continental United States and help make carbon market participation more accessible to landowners of all sizes.
  • Twelve, formerly Opus12, to help scale the reduction of emissions from supply chains and essential products across a range of industries. across a range of industries.
  • Rheaply, to fund the development of carbon-related Rheaply feature updates to help companies measure carbon emissions savings from reuse and fuel the circular economy.

Shaping a more sustainable supply chain

To help aid reporting requirements in our Supplier Code of Conduct, today we are releasing a set of in-depth capacity-building tools and resources, developed in partnership with Engie, WSP and CDP to help companies, and particularly our suppliers, report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, develop clean energy strategies and reduce their energy-related emissions. We’re also partnering with the International Finance Corporation, a sister organization to the World Bank, which will work with designated Microsoft suppliers in emerging markets, starting in Asia, to identify technical solutions reducing GHG emissions, provide implementation assistance and offer financing solutions to help them make investments in more efficient and low-carbon operations.

Microsoft is a Principal Partner of COP26.

Using our voice in policy

We frequently use our voice on climate-related public policy issues and in supporting new public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon, water, waste and ecosystems opportunities:

  • Recently, we shared comments to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the topic of climate change disclosure centered on the need for common standards of climate measurement across the U.S. government and the world.
  • In Europe today, we welcomed the Commission’s Fit for 55 Package to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.
  • Looking ahead to COP26 this fall, we have a real opportunity to come together to commit to a net zero carbon economy and share learnings on our individual and collective journey to reduce carbon emissions. It’s an important moment in the global climate conversation and we will need to make significant progress in three core areas: the meaning of net zero, the measurement of net zero and the markets that will support net zero.

Building sustainably

We’re also making progress through innovative work in campus development. Recently, we:

  • Received Zero Carbon certifications for our Puget Sound and Silicon Valley campuses, demonstrating that zero carbon designs are achievable today. We are pursuing Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Future Institute.
  • Unveiled our Redmond, Washington campus Thermal Energy Center, a state-of-the-art, all electric central utility system which leverages vast geothermal wells to use the deep earth’s constant temperature to efficiently heat and cool campus via zero carbon electricity.

    Microsoft’s new Redmond, Washington campus will be all electric, zero carbon certified, and powered with 100% renewable energy, aided by a Thermal Energy Center.

  • Created a white paper on how to reduce embodied carbon through the selection and procurement of low-carbon products and the tracking and reduction of carbon emissions during construction.

While much has been done in the first half of this year, it’s clear that there is still much more work to do, and we’ll continue to be transparent about our progress and learnings. After all, it’s not enough for Microsoft to meet its commitments — we need other organizations and governments working together to achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2050. We look forward to continuing these important conversations, centered on action — at Inspire this week, as part of the Transform to Net Zero initiative, at COP26 this fall and beyond.

*For organizations that are interested in learning more about the state of the carbon removal market today and Microsoft’s experience procuring carbon removal, we will be sponsoring a complementary summit in partnership with GreenBiz VERGE Net Zero on July 28.

 

 

Tags: Cloud for Sustainability, sustainability

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Facebook: How Meta Is Preparing for Brazil’s 2022 Elections

Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms. Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity…

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Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms.

Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity workforce to more than 40,000 people globally. Last year alone, we invested nearly $5 billion in both areas.

We know that local knowledge is essential for this work to be effective, so we also have a large team of specialists based in Brazil who have a deep understanding of the situation. These efforts are intensified as the election approaches, and our work to protect the integrity of our platforms will continue after the vote.

Preventing and Stopping Election Interference

Removing content that violates our policies on voter suppression, such as posts that discourage people from voting, is among our many responses to potential interference in the electoral process. We take many actions to prevent hate speech or the incitement of violence on our platforms.

Currently, 99.7% of the fake accounts we remove from Facebook are deleted by artificial intelligence, before they are reported by users. We also investigate and disrupt networks that use fake accounts in a coordinated way to influence public debate.

Closer to October, we will activate an Elections Operations Center focused on Brazil, an initiative we’ve implemented since 2018, to bring together experts from across the company – including intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, public policy and legal teams. They work together to identify potential threats on our platforms in real time, accelerating our response time.

Collaborating With Authorities

In partnership with Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), in December 2021 we started adding a label to posts about political elections on Facebook and Instagram, directing people to reliable information on the Electoral Justice website. In the first two months after its launch, the label led to a 10-fold increase in visits to the Electoral Justice portal.

Between the end of April and the beginning of May, we posted reminders on Facebook for users to request or update their voter cards. The content was seen by the majority of adults using Facebook in Brazil and more than three  million people clicked to see more information. Closer to the upcoming election, we will again display reminders on Facebook and Instagram about voting day to raise awareness among voters and reduce abstention rates.

For the first time, the TSE will be able to report content directly on Facebook and Instagram that may violate our policies. We will analyze the reports once they are received.

WhatsApp launched an extrajudicial channel of communication in the 2020 municipal election to receive complaints from the TSE. The focus is on quick response to potential cases of bulk messaging, which is forbidden by local electoral law and by the app’s terms of service.

We also developed a virtual assistant on WhatsApp with the TSE, as we did during Brazil’s 2020 municipal election. The chatbot is accessible through the number +55 61 9637-1078. It allows voters to interact directly with the electoral authority and receive relevant information about the vote.

Meta has hosted training sessions for electoral officials all over Brazil to explain our actions to curb misinformation, share details on how Facebook and Instagram work, and detail our content rules, which we call our Community Standards and Community Guidelines. We also offer workshops to candidates and their campaign teams.

The partnership with the TSE also includes booklets with information for the electoral community and a guide to combating online violence against women in politics, also supported by the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) – Brazil Chapter.

Fighting Misinformation

We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that discourages voting or interferes with voting, such as incorrect information about the election date or candidates’ numbers.

We also work with independent fact-checking organizations to verify the veracity of reported posts that don’t violate our Community Standards. When fact-checkers mark a post as false, we reduce its reach on Facebook and Instagram.

People who still see this content in their feeds will see it covered with a label and a link directing them to more information from the fact-checker. In July, we increased the number of partners in our fact-checking initiative in Brazil from four to six including: Agência Lupa, AFP, Aos Fatos, Estadão Verifica, Reuters Fact Check and UOL Confere.

Since messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, we fight misinformation on WhatsApp through measures to reduce message virality.

Messages forwarded on WhatsApp are identified with a tag. Since 2020, messages with five or more forwards can be resent to just one conversation, which has led to a 70% global reduction in the number of frequently forwarded messages. This year, we implemented a new forwarding limit on WhatsApp: now, any forwarded message can only be forwarded again to one WhatsApp group at a time.

Advertising Transparency

In 2018, we launched our transparency tools for ads about politics and elections on Facebook and Instagram in Brazil. In 2020, we began requiring advertisers who wish to run ads about elections or politics to complete an authorization process and include “Paid for by” disclaimers on these ads. This year, we’ve expanded that requirement to ads about social issues such as economics, security and education.

All posts with the “Paid for by” disclaimer go to the Ad Library, where they are stored for seven years. The tool is open and provides anyone with detailed information about political ads including  the ad source account, audience demographics and estimated spending range, among other data.

Protecting the integrity of the Brazilian election in 2022 on our apps is a priority for Meta. We will continue to share updates on how we move forward with this work.

See more information about our work on elections.

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Microsoft is a Leader in The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites, Q3 2022

We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022. A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems…

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We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022.

A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems of record. “Dynamics 365 is purpose-built for this new world of business process. Our intelligent business applications connect data, process, and teams, ushering in a new era of hyper connected business and offering unparalleled value.” And over this past year we have been proud to see our customers take Dynamics 365 and show that there are really no limits to what can be done when you unite data silos with industry-leading AI and integrate collaboration tools throughout.

From the Campari Group’s ability to deploy bespoke personalization to their event attendees with real-time customer journey orchestration, to Dextra Group’s saving a whopping 60 percent on their customer relationship management (CRM) cost while also increasing seller productivity and lead quality, and to the city of Richmond, Virginia transformation of their non-emergency case management capabilities to deliver omnichannel engagement for improved efficiency and also becoming benchmark for how governments nationwide can utilize digital tools to better serve their communities.

What makes our CRM and connected products stand out for our customers? Here are seven key insights we have heard over the past year.

  1. Dynamics 365 provides an end-to-end, full-funnel solution. Dynamics 365 is the only portfolio of intelligent business applications that accelerates revenue outcomes by transforming selling experiences with a single intelligent, digital, customizable solution.
  2. Robust AI insights at your fingertips. Dynamics 365 enables everyone, across every team, to make better and more impactful decisions by converting data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI allowing teams to be more efficient and productive.
  3. Breakdown the barriers between people. We offer the leading workplace collaboration, video conferencing, and meeting software in the world with Microsoft Teams, which can connect seamlessly with our out-of-the-box CRM or be personalized to fit an organization’s needs with custom features.
  4. Personalize every experience. Dynamics 365 Marketing assists companies in more deeply understanding their customers and drives intent with AI-powered insights to deliver connected experiences—all the way from acquisition to retention.
  5. Streamlined, proactive, scalable sales. Dynamics 365 helps sales teams uplevel forecasting and revenue operations with built-in AI and machine learning and enhance seller performance with recommended next best actions, productivity tools, and real-time coaching.
  6. Breakthrough service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps organizations meet the evolving needs of every customer across every channel and increases customer satisfaction, while boosting frontline employee productivity regardless of location.
  7. Low-code transformation. With Microsoft Power Platform, organizations can provide anyone with the ability for low-code transformation with low-code, intuitive, extensible tools that seamlessly connect to Dynamics 365. 

It’s an honor for us that so many organizations look to us for help modernizing sales, marketing, and service operations. As Forrester states in its report, “Microsoft’s strong vision, the breadth of its suite, and its partner ecosystem and industry solutions drive its 40% year-over-year growth, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and retail.” We genuinely believe that with connected data, underpinned by industry leading AI and insights, there are no limits to what organizations can do. From upleveling employee experiences, to improving team productivity, and building deeper relationships with customers. It is all available with Dynamics 365.

Learn more

To learn more about how Microsoft compared with the other eight selected providers, please navigate to The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 website and get your copy.

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Exchange Online Basic authentication is going away: What you need to know

Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change. How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics…

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Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change.

How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics 365 and Power Apps?

After October 1, 2022, any connection to Exchange Online that uses server-side sync or the Dynamics 365 Email Router with Basic authentication (username and password) will quit working. Dynamics 365 mailboxes that use these connections will no longer be able to:

  • Send email from Dynamics 365 through Exchange Online
  • Retrieve email from Exchange Online
  • Synchronize appointments, contacts, or tasks between Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online

This change doesn’t affect connections that use Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization).

How can I find out if I need to prepare?

If your company is using server-side sync or the Email Router to connect to Exchange Online using a username and password, you need to act. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your organization is affected and what you need to do if it is.

Review your Message Center Posts (recommended)

The fastest and most reliable way to know if you need to prepare and what to do is to look in the Microsoft 365 Message Center. (You must have admin rights to sign in to the Message Center.) The Exchange Online team has been sending monthly Message Center posts to all affected customers with the following title format: “Basic Authentication – Monthly Usage Report – 2022.”

If your organization is using server-side sync with Basic authentication, you may also have received Message Center posts from the Dynamics 365 or Power Apps services. Look for posts with the following title: “Impact due to Exchange Online disabling Basic Authentication.”

The posts provide detailed information about the change and actions you need to take before October 1.

Check your Dynamics 365 email settings

If you don’t find any posts in the Message Center, read our guide on how to check whether your organization is affected and if it is, what you need to do before October 1.

Learn more

You can find more information, including FAQs, in the documentation:

Use of Basic authentication with Exchange Online | Microsoft Docs

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