Environmental justice is “the process and outcome by which all individuals are equitably protected from environmental risk, and equitably empowered to participate in the environmental decision-making processes,” as described in the Microsoft paper.
While WSP is a cited author in several of Microsoft’s papers, the primary reason the firm is on board for these projects is its experience in environmental justice and the green energy transition, according to Jenny Carney, WSP senior vice president of sustainability, energy and climate change and principal author for this paper.
Members of Carney’s team serve as strategic advisors and long-term implementation partners to many of the firm’s clients, including Microsoft. Since 2019, WSP has been working with the company on this framework that links its renewable energy strategy with its commitments to inclusion, diversity and racial equity.
The project involved three years of collaboration to explore different models for renewable energy procurement and testing them with different partners. One of the key findings cited in the report is that corporate renewable energy commitments are spurring rapid growth in the development of needed infrastructure for the generation of renewable energy.
According to the report, in the U.S. alone, the scale of corporate renewable energy procurement from 2016 to 2020 resulted in PPAs from 21.78 gigawatts of new wind and solar developments. It says further that only one year later, record-setting growth in corporate PPAs added an additional 17 gigawatts of new power to the country’s energy pipeline.
“In a macro sense, our goal is to influence the world to approach clean energy transition in the best way possible,” said Carney, who was named nationally among 10 women incorporating environmental justice at work. “The added goal of sharing this type of information, within the context of a Microsoft paper, is that it enables other practitioners, who have less ability to resource innovation, to actually see how Microsoft is doing it.”