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How Microsoft is using AI to become a more sustainable company


Artificial intelligence can already help make medical diagnoses and weed out terrorists.

Now Microsoft wants AI to make our planet greener.

Ranked the No. 1 environmentally friendly company by the nonprofit Just Capital, the tech giant is finding innovative ways to combat climate change. Chief among them: a grant launched in 2017 that funds the use of AI to address global warming. The tech company also released code that can aid developers building such algorithms.

Read more: 15 large American companies that have the best environmental policies

The company said it gave out 230 grants since launching the initiative. Microsoft also put large government data sets related to the environment on its cloud, Azure, to further help AI developers.

And this isn’t the first time Microsoft used AI to address climate change. The company gave farmers in India, a country heavily affected by rising sea levels and changing temperatures, AI tools to help them produce higher crop yields.

Microsoft’s unique climate practices are one of the reasons it nabbed the top spot in Just Capital’s ranking (founded by the billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, Just Capital analyzes corporate responsibility practices at 1,000 of the largest US companies).

Microsoft levies a “carbon fee” for all businesses it works with, charging $15 per metric ton of all carbon emissions from a company.

Microsoft recently made the largest solar agreement by a major US company after purchasing 315 megawatts of new solar power in Virginia.

Around 74% of sustainability companies agree AI will help solve long-standing environmental challenges, according to a survey by Intel.



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