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“Carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste company by 2030.” Those are the three things Microsoft is aiming for in the future. This extends to Xbox, which is now progressing in its sustainability efforts.
“Our products and services have an impact on the environment due to the choices we make in hardware design, manufacturing, and delivery, as well as during their usage and at end of life in terms of recycling and re-use options,” writes Dave McCarthy, Xbox Operations Corporate Vice President, in an Xbox Wire post. “As Microsoft President Brad Smith shared today, the impact of Xbox sales and usage on our Scope 3 emissions increased year over year because of the pandemic.
“Progress isn’t always linear; it fluctuates based on a variety of factors. It will not be a straight path to 2030, but we’re committed to reducing our environmental impact across all business areas to achieve our ambitious commitments.”
According to McCarthy, Xbox is already observing some energy-saving features in its consoles through the improvements made in its Energy Saver sleep mode. It now allows system and game update downloads even when activated and consumes 20 times less power than Standby mode. In addition, Xbox set the Energy Saver mode as default during the initial setup of controls. The company encourages its users to consider Azure’s significant renewable energy investments in 2025.
On the other hand, Xbox is also making ways to improve its console hardware through updates to both Xbox Series X and Series S. According to McCarthy, Xbox is trying to find more energy-saving improvements in their product through the power monitoring system attached in a small subset of consoles. In addition, Xbox has incorporated Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) resins into the manufacturing of the body and various internal components of Xbox Series S since 2021. It includes the incorporation of PCR resins into the controllers, such as Daystrike Camo and Electric Volt, color and special-edition series, and the following 15 newly added colors.
In relation to the materials being used in the production of its products, Xbox Series X|S consoles were deemed to be 97% recyclable in OECD countries based on UL 2789 Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) Procedure. With this, the company keeps on “rethinking” its materials for product design, build, and package to meet the 100% recyclable rating in OECD countries by 2030. One of the significant steps it started is changing Xbox gift card materials from plastic to paperboard, which effectively reduces over 500,000 kg of plastic yearly.
Moreover, Xbox underlines that progress in its commitments is impossible without the help of others in the industry.
“We must work together with our fans, developers, studios, and the industry if we’re going to help reduce gaming’s impact on the environment,” says McCarthy. “We’re committed to collaborating with our developers, partnering with organizations, and empowering players to make more informed decisions.”
Currently, Microsoft hopes to educate the world with its plans and actions. Besides the educational ideas it integrated into its games (like the Minecraft Climate Futures and Forza Horizon 5 electric vehicles), Microsoft continues its journey to lead the world towards sustainability. Currently, Mircosoft stands as the leading partner of the UN’s Playing for the Planet Alliance and supports and works with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.