Microsoft announced as latest COP26 Principal Partner
Global technology giant Microsoft has been named as the latest Principal Partner for COP26 - the highest level of sponsorship for the climate summit.
The UK COP26 Unit has already confirmed SSE, ScottishPower, NatWest Group, National Grid, Sainsbury’s, Hitachi and Reckitt as Principal Partners, alongside Sky as Principal Media Partner.
When the UK COP26 Unit first began seeking sponsors for the conference, which is taking place in Glasgow in November following a one-year delay as a result of Covid-19, it stated that it would only sign deals with companies with net-zero targets for 2050 or sooner. Sponsorship criteria also includes “credible short-term plans” to deliver against long-term climate targets.
Microsoft is working towards carbon negativity by 2030. Announced in January 2020, that target entails delivering a 50% reduction in emissions across the business and supply chain. Removal and offsetting will be used to cover an amount of carbon greater than the remaining 50%.
Then, by 2050, Microsoft is aiming to remove the equivalent of all the emissions generated across the firm’s lifetime, since it was founded in 1975. Climeworks has been announced as the first carbon removal business to be supported by Microsoft as part of the delivery of its 2030 and 2050 targets.
In a statement issued today (25 June), COP26 President Alok Sharma said Microsoft was selected as Principal Partner for these strong commitments and for “helping to create the technology the world needs to reduce [humanity’s] impact on the environment”.
“There is no other forum like COP26 to bring the people needed together to focus on all the ways to drive change,” Microsoft UK’s chief executive officer Clare Barclay said. “It offers the opportunity for public and private collaboration to establish the conditions for a net-zero economy and share learnings on our journey to reduce carbon emissions.”
Microsoft’s president Brad Smith added: “Building a pathway to net-zero will take all of us working together and technology will play an important role in enabling it.
“Through Microsoft’s partnership with COP26, we look forward to engaging across public and private sectors to establish the conditions, measurement and markets that can help us all accelerate progress in the fight against climate change.”
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Sponsorship of inconsequential activities like a football match or the Olympics – fine. Sponsorship of a business conference where the sponsor may have a vested interest – OK. But sponsorship of a major international Governmental set of negotiations – no way!
And I have lost count of the number of pieces of functioning hardware that I have had to junk because they no longer work with the latest Microsoft operating system…