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Microsoft's plan to be carbon negative by 2030 'is not greenwash,' Jim Cramer says

Key Points
  • Microsoft plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and has another ambitious goal set for 2050.
  • "I think they can do it because, remember, they are a powerful force — maybe the most powerful, especially when it comes to data centers, of almost any company on Earth," CNBC's Jim Cramer said.
  • "So I think they can make an impact. I think this is real. This is not greenwash," the "Mad Money" host said.
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Microsoft plans to become carbon negative by 2030

Microsoft is on a mission to become carbon negative in the next decade, and CNBC's Jim Cramer thinks the ambitious plan has some teeth to it.

"I think they can do it because, remember, they are a powerful force — maybe the most powerful, especially when it comes to data centers, of almost any company on Earth," he said in a Thursday appearance on "Fast Money Halftime Report." "So I think they can make an impact. I think this is real. This is not greenwash."

Earlier, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company's goal to not only curb its carbon footprint but to extract more carbon than it emits by 2030. The next goal for the world's largest software company is by 2050 to remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as the corporation has produced in its 45-year history.

From a stage at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Nadella said corporations must set their sights on developing business plans to benefit both people and the planet they inhabit. It's the latest company to devise a proposal with climate change in mind. Microsoft's plan includes a $1 billion "Climate Innovation Fund" that would be invested over four years in carbon removal technology.

The effort "will require technology by 2030 that doesn't fully exist today," Microsoft President Brad Smith said.

Later in the day on "Mad Money," Cramer highlighted the shifting priorities in U.S. business and even the U.S. government. Companies once sought to make profits by any means necessary in order to satisfy their shareholders, while government put regulations in place that had the environment in mind. Now those roles have flipped as the Trump administration has rolled back environmental rules in recent years and more firms take on initiatives to curb their negative impact on the Earth, he said.

"In a monumental twist, we've seen a shocking paradigm shift of late," Cramer said on the show. "Suddenly, capitalism is trying to regulate itself at a time when the environment's a pretty low priority for the U.S. government."

"The president doesn't seem to regard climate change as a serious issue for the nation's welfare, otherwise he wouldn't champion the burning of coal," he added.

Mega asset manager BlackRock, in an annual letter from CEO Larry Fink, earlier this week announced that it would not invest in companies with high sustainability-related risks as it tailors its investment strategy around climate change. The move comes at a time when ESG — environmental, social and governance — has become one of the hottest investment trends on Wall Street.

Amazon is another tech titan that has revealed a plan to be "net zero carbon" by 2040, which includes buying 100,000 electric delivery vans. The online retailer's program, however, does not go as far as that of Microsoft, whose carbon footprint is less than Amazon's.

Cramer said even if corporations can't quell the impact of global warming, what's important "is that this shift has happened at all."

Microsoft shares climbed nearly 2% in Thursday's session to a closing high of $166.7 per share.

"Whether or not Microsoft can save the environment, what matters is that they're making the attempt and the stock wasn't punished for it at all," Cramer said. "In fact, it was rewarded! Like I said, the world's turned upside down."

— Reuters contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Microsoft and Amazon.

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