Story at a glance

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Madella continues to tout the company’s new environmental plan, armed with a warning that the U.S.’s free market capitalism will be in danger if companies can’t adapt.
  • He cites a new wave of environmentally conscious investors looking for sustainable solutions in addition to profit.
  • He reiterates his aim for “carbon negativity” in 2050.

Days after releasing an updated plan to go “carbon negative” by 2025, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said it's the responsibility of large companies to help fight climate change.

“The corporation’s purpose is to find profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet,” Nadella told Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” show. He added that profitability has to reconcile with the inherent problems it can create for people and the planet.

As the world's wealthiest individuals and prominent global leaders prepare for Davos 2020 in Switzerland, climate change will be at the top of the agenda. Microsoft’s said its plan is to not only move away using fossil fuels, but to help remove carbon emissions.

If large companies cannot take those steps, Nadella warned, the capitalist and economic society that the U.S. benefits from “will fundamentally be in jeopardy.”

Microsoft's 2050 goal is to remove the exact amount of carbon it has produced since its founding in 1975. The company emits approximately 16 million metric tons of carbon annually.

For Nadella, corporate responsibility for social and environmental conditions is an inherent duty and a new pressure for companies who have investors and shareholders looking for green initiatives.

“I’m always saying our shareholders are the ones who are giving us permission to be able to think about [this] ... and therefore we are accountable to them to execute on these commitments that we are making, and that’s good for business,” Nadella said Thursday on CNBC.

Microsoft is the second major international company to make headlines this month for announcing sustainable initiatives. Financial management firm BlackRock recently announced it would divest from fossil fuels.

To launch the new eco-friendly initiatives, Microsoft will develop a $1 billion “Climate Innovation Fund” that will invest in green technological solutions.

Published on Jan 17, 2020