Microsoft's environmental impact isn’t limited to its massive data centers or its commuting employees. With hundreds of millions of PCs draining batteries and tapping into power outlets around the world, even a small tweak in Microsoft Windows can influence global energy consumption.

Which explains why the next version of the program, Windows 7, is such a big focus for Rob Bernard, the company’s chief environmental strategist. Bernard and his team have been working with Windows developers and managers to help incorporate new energy-saving approaches into the operating system — and to figure out how to get companies and consumers to use them.

In addition, the company has started a pilot program to designate “sustainability captains” who will pay attention to environmental issues and alert managers to problems and possible solutions in the company’s operations.

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