Celebrating Excellence: Microsoft

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Ahead of the 25th Supply Chain Excellence Awards, LogisticsManager.com caught up with Microsoft, nominee in the Unipart Logistics Sustainability Award category at the Awards.

Taking place next Monday night at the Hilton on Park Lane in London, the Supply Chain Excellence Awards are set to be a night of celebration, as the best in the logistics industry gather together on this very special 25th Anniversary.

How does it feel to have been shortlisted for a Supply Chain Excellence Award?
We are honoured to be one of the companies shortlisted for this award. As an organisation, we’re continually striving to empower every person on the planet to achieve more, but importantly as a corporation we believe we need to be part of the solution to problems facing people and the planet. Being selected for the shortlist for this award is a strong validation of our approach towards decarbonising our Cloud Supply Chain, but also serves as additional motivation to achieve our ambitious goals. While we believe technology can help solve the worlds biggest challenges, this nomination drives awareness to this body work and invites global collaboration that will result in specific actions needed to address the issues facing our planet.

As purchasers, if we can set a new bar for sustainability within our industry, the supply chain will adjust accordingly

What has changed in your project since you entered?
We have accelerated our work to engage with our suppliers, creating strategies and plans to reduce emissions across our supply chain, as well as the continued development of strategies such as the Circular Centres and integrating Circular Design in our cloud hardware. We have teams of dedicated and passionate employees and partners who work daily on addressing carbon in our supply chain. From data analysis to supplier engagement, to integrating carbon pricing in our contracts, our teams are diving deep into the details that will ensure we are meeting our climate goals in credible and sustainable ways.

What are you most excited for on the night of the Awards?
As much as we’d be honoured to win the award, the true excitement for us comes from the sense of collaboration and inspiration that occurs when you gather leaders in supply chain excellence. Learning more about the actions of others and how we may be able to apply best practices to our own supply chain is an outcome that we always seek out.

What do you think is the most important thing to focus on now in the industry? What should be the biggest priority when it comes to change for the better?
When thinking specifically about our area of focus – sustainability – we see the huge potential and importance of collaboration across purchasers, particularity in the technology industry. With many suppliers providing products to our data centres, as well as those of our peers, systemic change and the related carbon emissions savings should begin as far upstream as possible. As purchasers, if we can set a new bar for sustainability within our industry, the supply chain will adjust accordingly.

What are you looking forward to after the Awards?
Achieving Microsoft’s ‘carbon negative by 2030’ goal is a monumental challenge, but one we are absolutely committed to. We look forward to the large body work to be done and the achievements along the way.

What made you decide to compete for the Supply Chain Excellence Awards?
Aside from being a premier gathering of the industry’s leading minds, the Supply Chain Excellence Awards provide a valuable platform to share goals, visions and strategies that can help any supply chain improve and thrive. Recognition through an award is of course appreciated, but more than anything we believe in the process and platform these awards offer us to share our vision, learn about other approaches, and hopefully inspire other companies to take concrete steps to improve the sustainability of their own supply chains.

We hope the impact of our commitment and this project will not simply be our own operations. We are committed to transparently sharing our journey with industry, governments, and universities so that together we can develop and harness breakthroughs that will sole the world’s greatest environmental challenges

How will you celebrate if you win? Where will you keep the trophy?
Our initiative reaches far and wide across our company, not only in the Cloud division, but up to leadership, across to other divisions who support our efforts – so any celebration will be shared by all.

What are your hopes for the project going forward? What are your next steps?
Our Cloud Supply Chain Sustainability initiative continues to be a high priority for Microsoft and our leadership, seen as an integral piece of the company’s broader commitment to be carbon negative by 2030.  We hope the impact of our commitment and this project will not simply be our own operations.  We are committed to transparently sharing our journey with industry, governments, and universities so that together we can develop and harness breakthroughs that will sole the world’s greatest environmental challenges.

What difference did the project make for your company and for the sector?
Microsoft’s most important contribution to carbon reduction will come not from our own work alone, but by helping our suppliers (and their suppliers) around the world reduce their footprint. We believe our Circular Centres will be an integral part of our design-for-sustainability workstreams as our intelligent systems provide a responsive feedback flow of information, with learnings linked to reuse, disassembly, reassembly, and recycling shared with our design and supply chain teams to inform future sustainable generations of equipment. Additionally, our work to create circular designs across a circular supply chain will ripple across many industries, magnifying the impact of our investments.

What are your impressions of the Supply Chain Excellence Awards generally?
As we have experienced in the past with this award process, this is a professional, well-run opportunity for sharing best practices and providing well-deserved recognition for leaders across the supply chain industry.

Can you sum up 2021 from a supply chain perspective?
While the Covid-19 pandemic recovery began in many parts of the world, the impacts will be long-lasting. That said, staying focused on goals and improvements in any sector of supply chain is critical to longer-term success. In our case, remaining committed to our carbon goals throughout 2021’s up and downs and provided a foundation and baseline we can come back to and build off.

Do you have any advice for future Supply Chain Excellence Awards competitors?
While any improvement initiative or project has internal benefits to a company, critical to participating in the Supply Chain Excellence Awards is the ability to take a step back and analyse and describe the potential far-reaching impacts and opportunities your project can share. Telling your story in the context – and in common language – of the broader supply chain professionals will benefit you, your peers, and the industry as a whole.

Want to see Microsoft on the night, along with other industry leaders shortlisted for their excellence? Book your table today!

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