The jury is in, we need to reduce our carbon footprint as society and many corporations are stepping up to play their part. This article looks at 5 companies who have made pledges to reduce their carbon emissions: Microsoft, Sainsbury, Shell, Starbucks and Ørsted.
By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. Microsoft launched an aggressive program to cut their carbon emissions by more than half by 2030. This initiative is both for Microsoft’s direct emissions and across the entire supply and value chain. It will be funded via expanding their internal carbon fee which has been in place since 2012.
Microsoft emphasizes their approach will be based on science and match Based on this science and math and will follow three broad components.
“By 2025, we will shift to 100 percent supply of renewable energy, meaning that we will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100 percent of carbon emitting electricity consumed by all our data centers, buildings, and campuses.
We will electrify our global campus operations vehicle fleet by 2030.
We will pursue International Living Future Institute Zero Carbon certification and LEED Platinum certification for our Silicon Valley Campus and Puget Sound Campus Modernization projects.”
Sainsbury’s has pledged to invest £1bn towards ensuring it achieves “net zero” carbon emissions by 2040. The supermarket chain stated their ambition is to become the ‘Greenest Grocer’ by reducing carbon emissions from their heating, cooling, lighting and logistics operations. Sainsbury stated:
“We’re supporting the transition to a low carbon future by introducing energy saving technologies across our stores and increasing our use of natural refrigeration. We’re also working with our colleagues on energy-saving initiatives.”
Oil and Gas giant Shell supplies around 3% of the energy the world uses. The company intends to cut the carbon intensity of the energy products they sell, in step with society as it moves towards the goal of the Paris Agreement.
That means decreasing greenhouse gases emitted on average with each unit of energy sold – by around 20% by 2035 and by around half by 2050. This goal is around all the emissions from the life cycle of each of Shell’s energy products: from production to processing, to transportation and through to final use.
Starbucks aims to become resource positive – to store more carbon than they emit in order to eliminate waste, and provide more clean freshwater. By working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Quantis, Starbucks quantified the carbon, waste and water footprint of their operations and supply chain across the globe. Those benchmarks provided Starbucks with a clear starting point, which allowed them to define five environmental strategies to move toward a resource-positive future:
What are those strategies? Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson shares:
“1. We will expand plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
2. We will shift from single-use to reusable packaging.
3. We will invest in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in our supply chain.
4. We will invest in better ways to manage our waste, both in our stores and in our communities, to ensure more reuse, recycling and elimination of food waste.
5. We will innovate to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.”
Last but not last, Danish energy company Ørsted has already been pursuing a carbon reduction strategy for many years. This strategy has been so effective that in 2020, Ørsted landed the number one position on Corporate Knights ‘World’s most sustainable companies’ index.
Ørsted is pursuing a vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. Each year Ørsted conducts an assessment each year to determine which key societal challenges are relevant to their business and understand how to improve them. This strategic process helps their business stay relevant, competitive, and fit for the future. Based on their actions to date, the company will be carbon neutral by 2025.