Carbon neutrality

Microsoft pledges to go carbon neutral

Microsoft has vowed to go carbon neutral by implementing a company-wide carbon accountability programme.

Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said in a blog post that Microsoft was taking a "significant step" to reduce its environmental footprint and promote "positive change as the world transitions to new ways of using energy and managing natural resources".

He said that Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all its direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings starting from this July.

"We recognize that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue," he wrote.

The software company will also create an accountability model which will make every Microsoft business unit responsible for the carbon they generate – creating incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting, and an overall reduction of its environmental impact.

This will put into action by the creation of an internal carbon fee within Microsoft, which will place a price on carbon based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets.

The carbon fee will be applied to Microsoft operations in over 100 countries, making each business division responsible for the cost of offsetting their own carbon emissions.

"The carbon price and charge-back model is designed to provide an economic incentive for business groups across Microsoft to reduce carbon emissions through efficiency measures and increased use of renewable energy," Turner wrote.

Business operations impacted by the new carbon price include data centers, software development labs, office buildings, and business travel.

Where emissions are not eliminated through efficiency measures, Microsoft will purchase renewable energy and carbon offsets.

The carbon fee is another step in our broader company commitment to environmental leadership, from our facilities and data centers, to our supply chain, to the efficiency of our software products and services," Turner wrote.

"We are continually looking for opportunities to advance these efforts."

Other steps Microsoft have taken towards reducing its environmental footprint include:

• A smarter buildings pilot on Microsoft’s Redmond campus that uses software solutions to make its buildings more energy efficient, projected to achieve energy savings of approximately $1.5 million.

• Microsoft is working with CarbonSystems to implement an Enterprise Sustainability Platform, which automatically captures and extracts environmental data from multiple sources, uncovering more opportunities to identify how it can reduce its carbon footprint.

• Microsoft has published a white paper looking into where energy is used and potentially wasted in IT.

Further information:

See Microsoft's white paper on its carbon neutral strategy or Microsoft's blog Software Enabled Earth.

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