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Measure your cloud carbon footprint with the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 (Preview)

For more than a decade, Microsoft has invested in reducing its environmental impact while supporting the digital transformation of organizations around the world. We’re committed to becoming a carbon-negative, water-positive, and zero-waste company by 2030, and we intend to be transparent with our customers about our progress toward these goals.

As part of our commitment to transparency, last October we announced the general availability of the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Azure, a Power BI application that helps Azure enterprise customers understand the carbon emissions associated with their cloud usage.

Building on that work, we’re now pleased to announce the preview of the Emissions Impact Dashboard (EID) for Microsoft 365, which quantifies greenhouse gas emissions associated with your organization’s usage of Microsoft 365 applications, like Exchange Online and Microsoft Teams. The tool helps customers hold Microsoft accountable for achieving our sustainability commitments as well as measure the environmental impact of moving workloads to the cloud.

This preview is a precursor to the upcoming general availability launch of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, our extensible software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that helps organizations effectively record, report, and reduce emissions across their entire enterprise and value chain. Down the road, we plan to make the insights produced by the Emissions Impact Dashboard available via Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. This will help customers gain a broader understanding of their environmental impact, end-to-end.

Increasing transparency into the carbon impact of cloud usage

Organizations can use the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 to quantify the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their organization’s usage of Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams*—and more applications will be added over time. This data is crucial for understanding how usage of cloud services impacts emissions and is the first step in establishing a foundation to drive further decarbonization efforts.

The dashboard quantifies total emissions as well as carbon intensity—a measure of emissions per active Microsoft 365 user. Customers can segment and filter emissions by scope and datacenter region.

Screenshot of hypothetical data on the main dashboard page.Screenshot of hypothetical data on the main dashboard page.

Estimate emissions saved by moving to the cloud

Organizations can also use the Emissions Impact Dashboard to estimate the carbon emissions they’ve avoided by moving their Exchange and SharePoint deployments to the cloud. A 2018 study found that Microsoft Cloud is up to 93% more energy efficient and 98% more carbon efficient than on-premises alternatives. The dashboard app for Microsoft 365 uses factors described in that same research to derive its emissions savings estimates. Customers can improve the accuracy of their estimate by selecting the appropriate options to reflect the efficiency level of their on-premises alternative and the percentage of renewable energy it uses.

Screenshot of example emissions savings data.Screenshot of example emissions savings data.

Independently verified methodology representing the entire value chain

The methodology behind the dashboard calculations has been independently verified by Apex, an environmental assessment and engineering consulting firm. It includes the following three scopes of emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, representing the entire value chain involved in manufacturing, shipping, operating, and disposing of components used in Microsoft datacenters:

  • Scope 1: Emissions that directly result from business activities, such as stationary combustion of fuels for backup power generation in cloud datacenters.
  • Scope 2: Emissions that indirectly result from producing energy, such as exhaust from an electric power plant.
  • Scope 3: Emissions that indirectly result from all other business activities, such as those associated with manufacturing, shipping, and recycling the servers used in our datacenters.

Scope 3 emissions are particularly difficult but important to calculate as they are often far larger than scope 1 and 2 emissions put together. For example, as we report in our 2020 Environmental Sustainability Report, the majority of Microsoft emissions qualify as Scope 3. Given the size and complexity of the category, we recently published a Microsoft Scope 3 Emissions white paper that provides extra transparency into our Scope 3 emissions calculation methodology.

To arrive at the per-organization numbers provided in the dashboard, we first calculate emissions for each datacenter region, then allocate portions of those emissions to each customer based on proxies for their usage of Microsoft 365 core cloud services, including data storage and active usage per application. Examples of Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions created across the Microsoft Cloud value chain.Examples of Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions created across the Microsoft Cloud value chain.

Get started today

The Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 is available for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 customers for business, enterprise, and education.** A Power BI Pro license is required to install and use the application.

To install the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365, follow these steps:

  1. First, ensure that you are a Microsoft 365 admin with one of the following roles: Global admin, Exchange admin, Skype for Business admin, SharePoint admin, Global reader, Report reader.
  2. Install the app via AppSource.
  3. When the app finishes installing, it will appear on your Power BI Apps page. Click on the app to open it.
  4. Follow the prompts to connect your data using your Microsoft 365 tenant ID.
  5. Wait 24–48 hours for the data to build, then refresh your dataset via the workspace for the app.

More information and technical support are available in this Microsoft Docs article: Connect to the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 (Preview) – Power BI.

*The Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 provides general estimates to help organizations gain insight into the carbon emissions of their IT infrastructure associated with the use of Microsoft 365 core cloud services.

**The tool is not currently supported for national cloud deployments including but not limited to Microsoft US Government clouds and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet.

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