Apr 22,2022

Sustainability Series: Achieve net zero with connected sustainability

Black farmer with digital tablet in crop field

Sustainability tech transformation as an opportunity for partners series 

For decades, Microsoft UK partners have been providing their customers with solutions that improve efficiency, increase revenue and drive growth. Now, with the backdrop of climate emergency, customers all looking to embed environmental sustainability into their organisations and decarbonise their operations. 

However, while they have strong intentions to do this, there is a worrying lack of progress. In our 2021 report Accelerating the journey to net zero, only two in five organisations were on track to meet the UK government’s 2050 net zero target.  

The opportunity for partners 

According to Microsoft’s 2021 research, 64 percent of UK finance leaders believe sophisticated technology will play a critical role in helping their organisation meet its environmental targets. For UK healthcare leaders that figure is 66 percent, for manufacturing leaders it is 68 percent, for utilities and energy leaders it is 74 percent and for retail leaders it is 72 percent. 

What does this mean for our partners? 

Nearly half (44%) of our surveyed customers are already asking for technologies or services that will help them met net zero goals. 

Organisations are looking for technologies that will help them go further and faster in operationalising sustainability and achieving their net zero ambitions. It is this gap where the opportunity for the Microsoft UK Partner Network lies. Where you can take your core competency and capabilities a step further into sustainability to help you, your customers and the UK as a whole. 

Our research found five areas where partners are uniquely positioned to provide technology solutions and consulting services: 

  1. Connected sustainability 
  1. Decarbonisation 
  1. Strategic and operational innovation 
  1. Funding and skills 
  1. Supply chain and collaboration 

In this blog, we’ll be looking at the first area of opportunity: Connected sustainability

by Rob Kalmbach Photography

Put sustainability at the heart of your organisation 

According to our research, 89 percent of Microsoft UK partners plan to be net zero by 2050. In fact, In order to help your customers on their sustainability journey, you need to be on your own journey. 

When you view sustainability as an investment, you’ll generate lasting value for all stakeholders – from customers to partners, employees and investors. Think about: 

  • Embedding sustainability strategies across the entire organisation’s thinking and business plan. 
  • Establishing clear goals and milestones to conducting ongoing assessments of the risks and benefits of implementation.  
  • Be clear on your environmental objectives are and how teams deliver on them.  

Share your journey with your customers 

As mentioned before, UK organisations have big sustainability ambitions but struggle to integrate and execute them. When you share your net zero journey with transparency, you can showcase knowledge, create use cases and provide proof of concepts that will open valuable opportunities.  

Take for example, Infosys, a digital services and consulting firm that empowers their customer’s digital modernisation with AI-powered solutions. Their goal of ‘practical sustainability’ meant they became carbon neutral by 2020 with the help of technology. 

As a result, they can show their customers the proof points and data of the impact of technology and how to realise it and extend it in their organisations. 

The experience from their own journey allowed Infosys to work with several like-minded customers to build a great starting platform. Then, they extended this solution to other customers and partners with their EcoWatch solution. Ecowatch helps organisation better comply with environmental regulations and enhance sustainability performance to accelerate the sustainability journey. 

Young male and female with Surface in modern workplace.

Building a purpose-led culture 

Key to achieving sustainability goals is to have the culture that supports this aim. At Microsoft, we connect sustainability across the whole company. Our senior leadership team have their financial benefits linked to sustainability performance. We also have an internal carbon tax for all our business units. To keep our employees engaged, we have a 5000+ sustainability connected community and 30+ global chapters.  

Kin + Carta are a B Corp certified technology, data and experience consultancy. They’re focussed on social responsibility by giving equal consideration to people and planet as well as profit. 

“Partnerships, like ours with Microsoft, not only enable access to innovative tools but also encourage networking with those at the forefront of the sustainability movement facilitating knowledge-sharing that accelerates progress and keeps motivations high,” says Paul Hunter, Responsible Business Lead – Americas, Kin + Carta. 

Their two week sustainability assessment aims to help companies move towards their sustainability goals by evaluating existing initiatives on Azure cloud and matching opportunities to Microsoft solutions to reach business objectives.  

Sustainability is a key pillar of our Partner Pledge, which showcases our shared belief that the nations that will prosper are the ones who adopt technologies in a deep and ethical way and ensure everyone possesses the right skills and opportunity to make the most of what lies ahead. 

When you have sustainability at your core, you will go beyond your own net zero goals. You’ll open up more opportunities with other partners and customers and create innovative solutions that will drive your organisation to achieve more.  

Keep an eye out for our next blog in the series, where we’ll investigate how to set milestones that commit to the reduction and removal of carbon from your value chain. 

Find out more:

Partnering on the Road to Net Zero