Opening doors to a sustainable future with Microsoft’s Circular Center in Singapore

 |   Singapore News Center

data center

Another step towards eliminating electronic waste and responding to the needs of our planet

Here at Microsoft, our unwavering commitment to sustainability continues with the opening of a new Circular Center in Singapore.

Microsoft’s Circular Centers enable us to reuse and repurpose decommissioned cloud computing hardware from our datacenters to find new life in schools, as resources for skills training programs, and much more.  The goal of our Circular Center program is to reuse 90 per cent of our cloud computing hardware assets by 2025.

The launch of our 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 our Centers, decommissioned servers and other types of hardware can be repurposed or dissembled by our technicians, and the components and equipment moved on to another phase of life.

Our Intelligent Disposition and Routing System (IDARS) uses AI and machine learning to establish and execute a zero-waste plan for every piece of our 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.

YouTube Video

Collaborating to find new repurposing opportunities

The Circular Centers are transforming the sustainability credentials of our datacenters, but Microsoft hasn’t done it alone. We work closely with partners to find new opportunities for our end-of-life parts and equipment.

That 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 our 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, our Center will help reduce waste and carbon emissions. In our 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, we 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.

We’re exceptionally proud of these facilities. But we also know this is only the beginning.

We have been operating in Singapore and Asia for over 30 years and are present in 23 markets in Asia today. Through this tenure, we have become a go-to partner for Asia’s businesses, governments, partners, communities, and individuals.

The Singapore Circular Center is a further testament to our commitment to Asia’s future. We will continue to collaborate and co-innovate with our partners the world over, and power towards our global goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

Additional Video Content:

(External) Explainer: How circular centers will help Microsoft achieve zero waste by 2030 – YouTube

(External) We Live in the Cloud | Microsoft Story Labs