Microsoft joins Salesforce, Google and IBM in offering sustainability tracking products

As environmental issues take center stage with increasingly severe weather incidents, wildfires, droughts and floods across the globe, companies that generate pollution up and down the supply chain are looking for ways to measure their impact on the environment with an ultimate goal of finding ways to minimize their overall contribution to the problem.

But in order to improve your carbon footprint, you need to be able to get a baseline measurement and then follow the data over time, and that takes a set of software tools.

Microsoft wants to help, and it announced a new offering today called Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. In a blog post authored by Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president, industry, apps, and data marketing; and Elisabeth Brinton, corporate vice president for sustainability; the company outlined its plans for a new offering to help.

The solution aims to use of a set of measuring devices to collect the data, and then take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud-based data collection services to process and understand that data.

β€œTo effectively drive sustainability reporting, sustainability efforts, and business transformation, organizations need better visibility into activities across their enterprise and value chain. Collecting and connecting IoT data from devices using sensors β€” combined with rich services at the edge or in the cloud β€” provides the basis to monitor and measure activities at scale.”

The data collection piece takes place in a tool called Microsoft Sustainability Manager, which they write “will empower organizations to more easily record, report and reduce their environmental impact through increasingly automated data connections that deliver actionable insights.”

Microsoft is not alone in this type of effort, as other major players have made similar announcements over the last year, including Salesforce, Google and IBM. In fact, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said at a press event last week, sustainability is going to be a big business moving forward, as more companies try to reduce their carbon output. Salesforce and Google have built similar products, while IBM acquired Envizi, a startup that helps companies measure their carbon usage.

All of these solutions are data-driven, and look to help companies collect key data to understand their environmental impact, while finding ways to reduce it over time and meet sustainability goals.

Microsoft will also be working with a variety of partners to help extend the solution beyond its core offering. The tool is available starting today.