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It’s Josh again – back to discuss internal engagement practices at Microsoft. I wanted to highlight one of the countries I’ve had the pleasure of working with on their local Environmental Sustainability strategy – Microsoft UK. Based in Reading, England Microsoft UK has a long history of environmental stewardship, and was among the first subsidiaries to establish a carbon footprint reduction plan aligned to the company’s overall goal. The “Environmental Lead” in the UK is Mary-Anne King, head of Environmental Sustainability who created a remarkable environmental plan for the UK subsidiary, and in doing so set a bench mark for many other Microsoft subsidiaries around the world. The impact of Mary-Anne’s work has been significant. Mary-Anne has been responsible for helping measure Microsoft UK’s carbon footprint, engaging the Microsoft real estate and facilities team on reducing the impact in our operations, securing sponsorship from senior managers and employees, educating teams on how to communicate our story to customers, government elites and other stakeholders, and showing a passion for this topic which is a model for others around our company.
This fiscal last year, Mary-Anne led an effort to reduce the UK subsidiary’s energy consumption by at least 10% and expects the team’s work to save ~6000 tons of CO2. Separately, she’s led an effort to help reduce business travel carbon emissions by 20% in fiscal year 2010 by helping create a detailed plan of action to increase the use of Unified Communications and other Microsoft collaboration technology. She has also worked with the facilities team to obtain the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System accreditation. The accreditation is increasingly expected by Microsoft customers and partners as they seek assurances about the sustainability practices of their supply chains. In addition, Mary-Anne successfully drove the process of gaining accreditation to the Carbon Trust Standard, the UK’s leading independently audited carbon management accreditation. The Carbon Trust Standard is hard to obtain and is invaluable in demonstrating to customers, partners, governments and citizens that Microsoft UK takes its commitment to environmental sustainability seriously.
“Being certified with the Carbon Trust Standard is proof that an organisation has taken genuine action to reduce its impact on climate change by cutting its carbon emissions. We congratulate Microsoft UK on this achievement.” Harry Morrison, General Manager of the Carbon Trust Standard
Here are some of the key learnings from Mary-Anne’s experience driving both ISO 14001 and Carbon Trust accreditation:
• Identify opportunities for biggest impact - energy consumption and business travel together make up over 98% of the UK footprint
• Developing a good relationship with real estate and facilities managers is vital
• Gather data consistently and often, and know the story behind it (ask why)
• Be clear about the goals you are trying to achieve and align them to the business priorities
• Keep stakeholders informed and make sure you have executive support
• Eat your own dog food … that is to say, look for opportunities to leverage our own[MSFT] technology wherever possible to save energy (virtualization, desktop power management), decrease travel (unified communications) and produce less waste (office system, workflow, etc)
This, of course, is just a sample of the great work being driven by Microsoft UK and other Microsoft subsidiaries around the world. I look forward to sharing more stories from our field organization again soon.