Microsoft keeps expanding ranks of climate leadership, announces new hire from Shell

Elisabeth Brinton, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Sustainability. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft is adding to its climate leadership ranks by hiring Elisabeth Brinton as corporate vice president of sustainability.

The software and cloud giant is also creating a Sustainability Industry team, which will “deepen our focus and capabilities in helping customers make sustainability an integral part of their core business models,” according to a LinkedIn post from Omar Abbosh, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Industry Solutions.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company has established itself as a corporate climate leader, setting ambitious carbon reduction targets for itself as well as providing technical support for other companies and organizations.

The news comes on the same day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an updated report that emphasized the tremendous need to take aggressive steps now to reduce carbon emissions.

“This report recognizes the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people and integrates natural, social and economic sciences more strongly than earlier IPCC assessments,” said Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, in a statement.

“It emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks,” Lee continued. “Half measures are no longer an option.”

Other climate actions by Microsoft include:

  • A pledge to become carbon negative by 2030 and the establishment of a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund
  • Creation of Transform to Net Zero, a coalition launched with Starbucks and seven other companies to assist businesses in reaching their climate goals
  • Participation in Carbon Call, an international initiative backing the development of a comprehensive, comparable, interoperable system of carbon tracking ledgers

Prior to joining Microsoft, Brinton was Shell’s executive vice president of Global Renewables and Energy Solutions. She has also worked for an Australian energy company and Pacific Gas and Electric in California. Her 25 years in the sector has included projects supporting renewable power, green hydrogen and electric vehicles, according to Abbosh’s post. Brinton and her team will work with Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa.

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