Tech giant Microsoft announced today the appointment of former Biden administration climate and energy specialist Melanie Nakagawa as Chief Sustainability Officer.

In her new role, Nakagawa will lead Microsoft’s company-wide environmental sustainability work, including initiatives towards reaching its 2030 targets to become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste while contributing to biodiversity, as well as its efforts to deliver technology to help customers and partners achieve their own sustainability goals, and to partner with governments, nonprofits, and businesses to help accelerate broader global sustainability progress.

In a blog post announcing the new appointment, Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, said:

“Melanie joins Microsoft at a critical time. January will mark the third anniversary of our ambitious climate goals to be carbon negative by 2030 and remove our historical carbon emissions by 2050. While I’m pleased with our progress, we must accelerate our momentum and broaden even further our climate-related work.”

Nakagawa joins Microsoft after serving in the Biden administration White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Climate and Energy on the National Security Council, where she played a leadership role on international and domestic climate initiatives, including working on the U.S.’ return to the Paris Agreement, and on energy issues including the international energy response to the war in Ukraine. She also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation at the U.S. State Department under the Obama administration, responsible for supporting the shift toward a low carbon economy. From 2017 through 2020, Nakagawa worked as Director of Climate Strategy for climate tech-focused private equity firm Princeville Capital.

In a social media post following the announcement, Nakagawa said:

“In order to address the impacts of climate change, the world is in need of human ingenuity and innovation that can deliver new climate solutions. It is an honor of a lifetime to join Microsoft’s world class sustainability team at this pivotal time as the world is working to advance ambitious and innovative sustainability goals.”

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