Microsoft Ireland’s Green Team Makes a Difference

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Microsoft Ireland’s Green Team Makes a Difference

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Each quarter, Microsoft’s Environmental Sustainability team gives out an environmental action award in recognition of employees or a team who are having a positive impact for environmental sustainability at Microsoft.  These are people who have led the way, provided inspiration to others and shown how Microsoft and its employees can make a difference.   I continue to be amazed at the great environmental work being conducted across the company and this quarter was no exception.   This last quarter we recognized, Microsoft Ireland Green Team, for their work on a plan to reduce Microsoft Ireland’s environmental impact. 

Microsoft Ireland Green Team is an action group established to promote the implementation of environmental initiatives within Microsoft’s Irish subsidiary.  The team established goals and strategies to reduce the subsidiary’s environmental impact, and have also led an impressive employee education effort to raise awareness on environmental issues both at work and home.

In just the past year, the Green Team’s efforts were wide-ranging and they accomplished amazing results to help advance environmental sustainability at Microsoft Ireland. For example, the Green Team conducted research on renewable energy options which led to the switching of electricity provider from one that provided 15% renewable energy to one that provides 79% renewable energy.  Additionally, the Green Team established aggressive measurement objectives to track their environmental progress.  As part of their efforts, they achieved ISO4001certification to the global environmental management system and instituted a strict management of cost and carbon reduction programs in transport, waste, packaging and water.  The team also aligned their energy and carbon reduction policy to the company’s overall corporate objective to reduce carbon emissions by 30% from 2007 to 2012.  Through their work, the Green Team has helped reduce Microsoft Ireland’s carbon emissions per head by 50% since 2008. In energy alone, savings in excess of €300,000 have been achieved in the last financial year 2009/2010.

A critical component of their efforts focused around environmental education; they drove an impressive series of events and activities throughout the year to bring attention the issue.  Events included the “Energy & Environment Awareness Week” where more than 20 exhibitors presented to hundreds of Microsoft employees, an energy monitoring competition with an outside accountancy firm, participation in National Bike week, an employee transport survey and recycling days for office IT and furniture which led to the recycling of 10 million kilograms of consumer electronics with proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society.   Additionally, to reduce the environmental impact of the Ireland subsidiary’s internal communications, the team led a paperless communications campaign, installing new flat screen monitors, and introducing an Intranet site to reduce the amount of paper in circulation.

With the help of the Green Team, Microsoft Ireland received the 2010 Envirocom Award for Energy Awareness, recognizing Microsoft’s engagement in outstanding and innovative environmental management.   The team has an ambitious roadmap of activities for the coming year with a particular focus on transport and packaging. Overall, the work of the Microsoft Ireland Green Team has had a remarkable impact in Ireland and the success of their initiatives highlights how working together with people for a common cause can drive real impact. 
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