Microsoft Goes Carbon Neutral with a Novel Twist
The world’s leading IT company, Microsoft, is taking the big plunge into carbon neutrality, the company has announced.
Starting July 1, 2012, Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all of its operations — this includes office buildings, software development labs, data centers, and air travel. Data centers have been a particular point of environmental contention — they require copious amounts of energy, and most are powered by fossil fuels like coal.
Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, says the company’s decision to reduce its environmental footprint is the right thing to do, for several reasons. According to Turner, the biggest reason could be leveraging Microsoft’s incredible business clout to inspire other corporations to address their carbon footprint.
Microsoft will be implementing several new measures such as software solutions to make buildings more efficient. The company’s Redmond, Washington campus has served as a pilot for the new software solutions, and Microsoft expects the project to generate energy savings of $1.5 million in fiscal year 2013. Furthermore, the company will earn its investment back in 18 months.
Known for breaking the mould, Microsoft has developed a truly novel concept for promoting environmental awareness and accountability within its business operations. The company is creating an internal carbon fee which will place a price on carbon. The price will be based off of the market costs for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and will be applied to Microsoft’s operating divisions in 100 countries. The goal is to make all branches of the corporation responsible for offsetting their own emissions.
As Turner says, “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.”
He further adds, “We believe climate change is a serious challenge requiring a comprehensive and global response from all sectors of society. This carbon charge-back model is one way we seek to both reduce our impact and test new approaches which we hope are broadly useful for other organizations.
Where efficiency measures fall short in offsetting emissions, Microsoft will purchase renewable energy. Currently Microsoft is the third largest purchaser of clean energy in the United States — it buys enough renewable energy to offset 46% of its electricity use.