Another step towards eliminating electronic waste and responding to the needs of our planetSINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 7 September 2022 - Microsoft today made a commitment to sustainability with the opening of a new Circular Center in Singapore.
Microsoft’s Circular Centers will enable the ability to reuse and repurpose decommissioned cloud computing hardware from data centers to find new life in schools, as resources for skills training programs, and much more. The goal of this Circular Center program is to reuse 90 per cent of cloud computing hardware assets by 2025.
The launch of this first Circular Center in Asia located in Singapore is an important milestone towards that goal, while also creating local employment opportunities.
Intelligently executing a zero-waste solution
The Microsoft Cloud is powered by millions of servers in hundreds of datacenters around the world, and demand for cloud services is growing exponentially.
At these Centers, decommissioned servers and other types of hardware can be repurposed or dissembled by technicians, and the components and equipment moved on to another phase of life.
The Microsoft Intelligent Disposition and Routing System (IDARS) uses AI and machine learning to establish and execute a zero-waste plan for every piece of decommissioned hardware, at scale.
IDARS also works to optimize routes for these hardware assets and provide Circular Center operators with instructions on how to dispose of each one.
Collaborating to find new repurposing opportunities
The Circular Centers are transforming the sustainability credentials of datacenters, and Microsoft works closely with partners to find new opportunities for end-of-life parts and equipment.
This has seen repurposed servers being donated to schools or used for job training. Reclaimed memory cards have also been used by companies making electronic toys or computer games, to mention just a few examples.
While this new Singapore Center will produce ground-breaking environmental improvements, it will also create employment opportunities. At other Microsoft Centers around the globe, the processes used during repurposing have resulted in the creation of new jobs, including fresh job categories and many entry-level positions.
Contributing to positive climate action for Asia
In 2022, nations everywhere have been confronted with the need to accelerate their net zero ambitions. That includes Southeast Asia, where eight out of ten countries are already committed to net zero targets. But despite recent progress, a new study reveals that there is still a large emission gap of three gigatons to be closed by 2030 if the region is to meet its net zero goals.
The same study also found that Asia is well positioned to address these challenges and capture the opportunities that come from managing climate risk effectively. It estimates, for example, that annual green economic opportunities worth USD$1 trillion by 2030 exist in Southeast Asia alone.
Singapore, with its strong government and private sector commitments and agile policy environment, has already laid the foundations for creating an advanced recycling infrastructure that can help it take advantage of those opportunities.
The arrival of a Microsoft Circular Center in Singapore is in line with this approach. By re-using and repurposing components, this Center will help reduce waste and carbon emissions. In this pilot Circular Center in Amsterdam alone, Microsoft contributed to the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 145,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent.
Towards a more sustainable future for all
Microsoft’s first ever Circular Center opened in Amsterdam in 2020. Since inception, the company has achieved reuse and recycle of 83 per cent of all decommissioned assets and aim to reach 90 per cent by 2025.
Its success saw Microsoft being named the winner of the 2022 Gartner Power of the Profession Supply Chain Awards in the Social Impact of the Year category.
Since achieving this outstanding result, Microsoft has established further centers in Dublin, Ireland, and Virginia in the US.
Along with the Singapore Center, plans are now underway to expand the program in Washington, Chicago, Sydney and to other sites.
Microsoft has been operating in Singapore and Asia for over 30 years and are present in 23 markets in Asia today. Through this tenure, the company has become a go-to partner for Asia’s businesses, governments, partners, communities, and individuals.
The Singapore Circular Center is a further testament to a commitment to Asia’s future. Microsoft will continue to collaborate and co-innovate with partners the world over, and power towards a global goal of reaching net zero by 2050.