Microsoft has declared it intentions to adjust its water usage and concentrate on replenishing it in every region it operates. They plan to be “water positive” by 2030, in other words.
Microsoft President, Brad Smith, made the declaration in a post published yesterday on Microsoft’s official blog.
At first glance it might seem a little strange; Microsoft is, after all, a big software company, and software companies and concerns over water usage seem mutually exclusive.
But dig a little deeper, and the connection becomes apparent. Microsoft under Satya Nadella has become a company concerned with far more than just making its shareholders happy: it’s a company concerned with its impact on the world at large, and the people that live in it.
Recognising that water plays a huge part in the quality of life on planet Earth, Microsoft has committed to finding ways to replenish water in the areas it operates, while using as little as possible. The rationale used is that the impacts of any changes to the planet’s climate will be felt most directly through the water supply, by those that depend on it.
Says Smith in the post: “By 2030 we will be water positive, meaning we will replenish more water than we use. We’ll do this by putting back more water in stressed basins than our global water consumption across all basins. The amount returned will be determined by how much water we use and how stressed the basin is.”
Partnerships are vital
Microsoft will partner up with governments, other companies, NGOs, and other interested parties, and leverage every technology at its disposal, from cloud computing to AI to advanced Internet-of-Things sensors to achieve this lofty goal.
Focus areas include the restoration of wetlands and the removal of impervious surfaces like asphalt, which will help to return water to the basins that need it most.
Microsoft also encourages governments to get a better handle on their respective water situations through development of “…accurate and up to date assessments of ground and surface water levels…”, and of course to invest in upgrading and expanding their existing water infrastructure.
One of the companies Microsoft works with in this endeavour is Water.org. This nonprofit has been helping underserved communities get access to drinkable water for more than 25 years. In that time, Water.org has empowered over 30 million people worldwide with access to clean drinking water and sanitation and are a natural partner in this endeavour.
The blog post that outlines how Microsoft is going about this is quite long and detailed; the company is clearly committed to the cause and passionate about helping people across the globe to do more than simply being more productive at work.
Food for thought
Smith ends off with plenty of food for thought.
He says “Our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We believe that the purpose of business – and our responsibility – is to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet. That’s why we’re working every day with our customers, partners, NGOs and others around the world to address the climate crisis. What’s good for the planet is ultimately good for Microsoft.”