Microsoft proposes telecommuting to reduce carbon emissions by 24%

  • The savings are equivalent to the carbon absorbed each year by a 53.8-hectare forest or to take more than 47,000 vehicles out of circulation for a day

Hybrid work systems can reduce carbon emissions from mobility and energy consumption by 24%, according to a study prepared by the Catalan Government and the Microsoft company, which have reached an agreement to reduce the environmental impact generated by the Catalan Administration. “Teleworking is the best antidote to climate change: we reduce travel, reduce carbonization, reduce the ecological footprint and increase well-being”, defended this Thursday in Glasgow the vice-president of the Generalitat and ‘minister’ of Digital Policies and Territories, Jordi Puigneró, who has attended the Climate Summit (COP-26).

The agreement between the Generalitat and Microsoft, “a pioneer in Europe”, in the words of its promoters, aims to reduce emissions thanks to cloud computing and it should “mark the way for other governments in relation to the lines of work that must be addressed to reduce environmental impact and promote the sustainability strategy of public administrations”, said, in turn, the president of Microsoft Western Europe , Cindy Rose.

The study on which the agreement is based analyzes the behavior of 320 workers of the Generalitat in 2019, before the pandemic, and in 2021, with the virus waning but still present. The main conclusion of this report is that the reduction of displacements and the energy consumption that teleworking entailed in 2021 reduced emissions by 24% in relation to the 2019 parameters. A quantity of emissions that is equivalent, according to the Catalan Executive, to carbon absorbed each year by a 53.8 hectare forest or to take more than 47,000 vehicles off the road for a day.

Decarbonization policy

If the telework carried out among the Generalitat employees in 2021 were applied in a permanent and generalized way, Puigneró has deepened, “we would be facing an effective policy of de-born mobility and we would be able to get ahead in years in the emission reduction targets “. For this reason, the Catalan vice-president has defended that the Catalan Administration you should not take “steps back” in relation to remote work.

The agreement reached will allow the Government to develop projects with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for greater energy efficiency or to identify entities (universities, research centers or companies) that can benefit from the financing of the climate innovation fund with which Microsoft has.

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It will also be able to “take advantage of investments made by Microsoft in environmentally efficient cloud technologies such as Azure, in areas such as distributed computing, artificial intelligence, intelligent business applications and cybersecurity.”

In addition, the Catalan Executive will use the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability and Emissions Impact Dashborad applications to study how the reduction of its emissions evolves. At the same time, it will apply smart building solutions (with greater energy efficiency), starting with a pilot test with the Center for Telecommunications and Information Technologies.

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