Satya Nadella and Microsoft's leadership team gets 2021 C.K. Prahalad Award for Global Business Sustainability Leadership

Microsoft's leadership team, including its Indian American CEO Satya Nadella, were given the 2021 C.K. Prahalad Award for Global Business Sustainability Leadership at an event in Austin, Texas

Oct 13, 2021
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Microsoft’s top leaders : CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa

Microsoft's leadership team, including its Indian American CEO Satya Nadella, were given the 2021 C.K. Prahalad Award for Global Business Sustainability Leadership at an event in Austin, Texas. 

CEF presented the 2021 C.K. Prahalad Award in two categories: collaborative leadership by an executive team to Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environment Officer Lucas Joppa; and leadership by an individual executive to Ecolab Chairman and former CEO, Douglas M. Baker, Jr. The awards were announced at the 2021 CEF Annual Leadership Retreat, attended by senior executives representing CEF member companies with combined revenues of $4 trillion. 

The award recognizes winners for exemplifying the fundamental connection between sustainability, innovation and long-term business success in a globalizing world.

Four of Microsoft’s top leaders received the prestigious honor for their collaborative leadership to transform Microsoft into a carbon negative company by 2030 and to remove all of the company’s historical emissions by 2050: CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa.

CEF Founder MR Rangaswami explained what set the team’s approach apart: “Nadella, Hood, Smith and Joppa have exhibited a remarkable level of joint ownership of this moonshot initiative - this is the first time we’ve seen a CEO/President/CFO/Environmental Sustainability coalition like this. They’ve defined a new model for what corporate-wide climate leadership looks like while sending a clear message that sustainability is core to Microsoft’s business strategy for the decades ahead.”

With this team at the helm, Microsoft is moving aggressively to advance its vision to make a positive impact globally on the climate, while proving that such steps can also be good for business. By 2025, the company will shift to 100% renewable energy for its data centers, buildings, and campuses, and it will protect more land than its operations use. By 2030, it will match 100% of its electricity consumption, 100% of the time, with zero-carbon energy purchases - and will push beyond that to actually become carbon negative: to remove more carbon from the environment than the company emits. Their approach is holistic, connecting the dots to other aspects of planetary health – including a commitment to replenish more water than the company uses – a goal known as “water positive” – and a pledge to achieve zero waste for its direct operations, products and packaging.

The company has set up a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund to help accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.

It is also building a Planetary Computer platform to help monitor, model, and manage Earth's natural systems. Beyond that, Microsoft has co-founded a new Green Software Foundation to help reduce emissions within the software industry by 45% by 2030, working with co-founders Accenture, GitHub, and ThoughtWorks to develop new standards, tools, and leading practices.

CEF also celebrated the leadership of Douglas M. Baker, Jr., board chairman and former CEO of Ecolab. During his esteemed tenure as CEO from 2004 to 2021, Baker was outspoken in his effort to educate the business community about corporate responsibility and the business risks of global water scarcity and the need to account for the true value of water in financial decision making.

Baker believed business had an imperative to act to ensure the world’s future prosperity through sustainable innovation and collaboration. Under his leadership, Ecolab became one of the largest water management companies in the world and more than tripled its net sales, while focused on sustainability, water management and carbon reduction. 

CEF is an invitation-only network of leading executives from Fortune and Global 500 companies driving sustainability strategy and innovation worldwide. 

(SAM)