Climate crises across the country — record heat waves, wildfires and flooding — have pushed climate to the forefront of corporate agendas. At the same time, companies are being held accountable for their actions to fix systemic racism at the community level. The two goals may seem distinct, but a new Microsoft renewable energy deal demonstrates that as the ESG industry develops, the environmental and social mandates shouldn’t stay in their siloes. Environmental injustice and racial injustice have always been connected in the real world, and should be in the realm of corporate ESG as well.
Microsoft announced in mid-July a solar energy partnership with Volt Energy, a Black-owned solar energy development firm, to supply Microsoft with 250 megawatts of solar power. It’s just one small power purchase agreement in the technology giant’s pledge of using 100% renewable energy by 2025, but it stands out not only for being done with a minority-led firm, but in being structured so that a portion of the profits are used to develop renewable energy sources in underserved communities across the United States.