Microsoft unveiled a series of new features that it is adding to its sustainability platform, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, with updates including capabilities to help companies meet emerging ESG reporting requirements and regulations, calculate Scope 3 emissions, and collect and manage a broad range of ESG data across categories and data sources.
Microsoft unveiled its Cloud for Sustainability platform in 2021, focused on enabling companies to record, report, reduce and replace their emissions through Software as a Service (SaaS) tools, and integrated the tool last year with Sustainability Manager, a data intelligence-focused solution offering organizations an increasingly automated view into the emissions impact of their entire operations and value chain.
Among the new capabilities being added to the platform are features aimed at helping users to prepare for ESG-related reporting and auditing requirements, including a new CSRD template to help organizations collect data needed for the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) underlying the EU’s Corporate Sustainable Reporting Directive (CSRD), which will begin applying in 2024. Microsoft said that it will also introduce prebuilt reporting templates for other ESG regulations and standards as they are defined and implemented, while also adding capabilities to track progress against Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) designations.
Microsoft also announced the launch of Project ESG Lake beginning July 2023, which is a new industry data platform enabling organizations to bring together and standardize ESG data from various sources and “build a centralized ESG estate.” The solution includes more than 400 tables across categories including carbon, water, waste, social, governance, biodiversity, and general business areas.
The update also includes an expansion of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability’s emissions calculation capabilities to include all 15 categories of Scope 3, or value chain, emissions. With the new update, in preview in July, the platform adds the final Scope 3 categories, including emissions related to the processing of sold products (category 10), emissions from the use of sold products (category 11), emissions from franchise operations (category 14), other emissions from fossil fuel and energy (category 3), and emissions associated with investments (category 15).
Additional features announced by Microsoft include waste and water data capabilities, and a service for carbon credits to help improve tracking and transparency and improve the quality and quantity of credits.
About the Authors
Associate Director, Investment Banking
Prachurjya has over 16 years of experience in investment banking with Acuity Knowledge Partners. At Acuity, he has led sector and product-specialist pilot teams across Capital Markets, ESG, Debt Advisory, Loan Syndications, Metals & Mining and Real Estate. He has been actively involved in setting up and on-boarding new ESG Advisory, ESG DCM and Sustainable Finance teams for various bulge bracket investment banks. Within DCM and Rating Advisory, he has been instrumental in helping the clients achieve over 30% in annual savings on both regular and adhoc tasks through standardization of the outputs and deployment of our proprietary BEAT tools.
Delivery Manager, Investment Banking
Puja has 6 years of extensive experience in ESG, Climate Change & Sustainability and she is supervising the ESG team at Acuity. She also has diverse experience in conducting ESIA, EHS compliance audits, ESG Risks and Controls, EHS & ESG Due Diligence assessments. Prior to joining Acuity, she was working with companies like KPMG Global Services, EY India and ERM India. She has expertise in provisioning extensive research requirements for clients through preparation of Peer Benchmarking, Target Compilation, Sustainability report, Sustainable Finance Updates and Sectoral ESG Thematic Detailing Engagement.
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