Microsoft has committed to replenishing more water than it uses in its direct operations by 2030.
The tech giant plans to tackle its water consumption by reducing its water use intensity - the water it uses per megawatt of energy used for its operations - and by replenishing water in the water-stressed regions in which it operates, president Brad Smith stated in a blog post, adding that he hopes these moves will encourage other companies to follow suit.
"We have reached the point globally where humanity depletes the available freshwater supply at a rate of 4.3 trillion cubic meters every year - the majority of which goes to agricultural and industrial uses," wrote Smith.
"Getting ahead of the world's water crisis will require a reduction in the amount of water humans use to operate economies and societies, as well as a concerted effort to ensure there is sufficient water in the places it is needed most.
"As a global technology company, Microsoft is prepared to act on both accounts, taking responsibility for our own water use and partnering on technology platforms to help others do the same."
Smith described its water goals as the "fourth pillar" in its sustainability agenda, following on from its announcement earlier this year to become carbon-free within the next decade.
Its replenishment strategy will include investing in projects such as wetland restoration and the removal of impervious surfaces, such as asphalt, in order to refill water in the global basins that need it the most.
It is also developing water reduction and replenishment strategies around its new datacentre in Arizona - due to open next year - as well as at its Silicon Valley, Israel, Hyderabad and Puget Sound locations.
The value of the ocean economy could exceed $3tn and over 40 million jobs by 2030, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"To realise this potential economic impact, the private and public sectors and civil society must work together to reverse declining ocean biodiversity resulting from climate change, pollution and overexploitation," stated Smith.
"That requires good data, governance and policies, and technological innovations like smart sensors, autonomous robots, data analytics and AI to better monitor, model and manage oceans."
Microsoft is also developing solutions to help customers track, analyse, and make strategic decisions about their own water usage, as well making a $10m climate fund investment to Emerald Technology Ventures' Global Water Impact Fund, which partners with start-ups to drive innovation and adoption in water technologies.
"We believe that the purpose of business - and our responsibility - is to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet," Smith added.
"That's why we're working every day with our customers, partners, NGOs and others around the world to address the climate crisis. What's good for the planet is ultimately good for Microsoft."
The news comes on the heels of fellow tech giant Google's recent announcement that it intended to run all of its global operations off renewable energy by 2030.
'We won't return to how things were' - Apple CEO on where remote working has worked and where it hasn't
Cook says that between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of Apple employees are working in the office at the moment
Chris Walsh, managing director of channel lifecycle services firm ABCD Services, warns of the dangers of startup vendors with unrealistic expectations of revenue and lacklustre channel strategies
UK-based partners also named as among first resellers to join vendor's new certified deployment programme
Storage vendor pays $370m in cash for US start-up Portworx
Hyperview CEO tells CRN about his plan to recruit more partners and grow the firm's presence in the UK
Graeme Watt, Phil Doye and Emma de Sousa give their verdict on market opportunities during CRN's Digital Transformation Deskflix event
Over a third of country's office computers laid dormant over lockdown period, according to report from 3stepIT
Brown took on an advisory role at Softcat in August, ahead of departing later this year
Tech giant amps up sustainability goals with commitment to replenish more water than it consumes within next decade