Microsoft has been one of the most successful companies of the second half of the teens due to being laser focussed on their business, and avoiding distractions such as politics.  This has resulted in numerous deals which appear to clash with the company’s stated ethical positions, such as providing services to immigration enforcement services in USA while opposing the deportation of Dreamers.

The latest such paradox is Microsoft’s push to be sustainable and 100% carbon neutral while also entering into a strategic alliance with Suncor Energy, a Canadian oil sands company.

The deal, designed to elevate Suncor’s cloud computing and big data platform, will stretch over several years, and are aimed at transforming Suncor’s retail fuel network of Petro-Canada stations, tracking data collected at its oilsands projects and changing how people work at their headquarters.

“It’s certainly our first partnership of this kind in Western Canada,” Sarah Kennedy, Microsoft’s director enterprise for Western Canada said, adding the deal includes agreements covering Microsoft’s “three clouds,” which are its Azure service, Dynamics 365 enterprise computing and Office 365 software suite.

“Although we are an industry leader in many respects, we still have much to learn in the digital space, which is why we’re working with a number of organizations including Microsoft to challenge us,” said Suncor chief executive Mark Little. Suncor expects its digitization efforts will add an additional $2 billion in incremental cash flow by 2023.

The collapse in oil prices in 2014 had caused Suncor to take a hard look at its cost structure and forced it to reduce operating costs.

“We need to go to the next level, because we need to continue to improve our reliability and cost structure,” Martin said. “We’ve picked the low branches and now we need to move to the next level on that front.”

Canada’s tar sands have been dubbed the largest (and most destructive) industrial project in human history. Mining the tar sands for oil produces over 3,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per hectare, consumes freshwater at a rate that rivals the daily water use of several major Canadian cities combined, and has destroyed a New York City-sized chunk of boreal forest and muskeg habitat, leaving massive dams of toxic sludge on the surface. Suncor, in particular, has a very patchy environmental record.

Satya Nadella has, of course, achieved success by putting business above politics.  Suncor senior vice-president, digital and enterprise technology Sandy Martin, said the company chose Microsoft because they were inspired by the cultural and business shift Microsoft undertook in the last five years.

Via Financial Post, thanks to Mike for the tip.

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