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Over the past three years, my team and I have worked to drive the types of changes that would consistently improve Microsoft’s carbon footprint and reduce our impact on the environment. As I noted in my previous blog, we have made some great progress.
However, when we looked at our progress in the face of the alarming scientific data on climate change and the urgent need for society to move to cleaner, reliable and more secure energy sources, we realized that there was more that we could do.
I am fortunate that I work for a company which understands climate change is a serious challenge requiring a comprehensive and global response from all sectors of society. Today, we are announcing that we are making the commitment to become carbon neutral beginning with our Fiscal Year 2013 (which begins July 1st). This commitment will apply to our internal operations across more than 100 countries associated with our data centers, software development labs, offices and air travel. Our strategy is based on driving company-wide accountability resulting in greater efficiencies, increasing our purchase of renewable energy, improving data collection with IT, and a continued acceleration of our R&D and datacenter operations efficiency investments.
The model of accountability is based on an internal carbon fee administered through our corporate finance department and cascaded globally to our business groups. This charge-back model will place a price on carbon and make the company’s business divisions responsible for the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with their electricity use and air travel.
The goal is simple; to make the company’s business divisions financially responsible for the cost of their carbon emissions and drive even more focus on efficiency and environmental sustainability across Microsoft. Even as we developed our strategy, the initial discussions within our company have already served as a catalyst for driving deeper dialogue and analyses that should result in improved efficiencies and more sustainable practices.
For emissions not eliminated through efficiency measures, Microsoft will purchase renewable energy and carbon offsets in order to achieve the carbon neutrality goal.
The measures that we will put in place to achieve carbon neutrality will lessen our environmental footprint while also helping us to manage risk, increase efficiency, and support the growth of our business. Our basic approach moving forward has three strategic pillars:
Here is our current plan:
We will all be evolving our approach together as we learn which strategies and practices are most effective and we look forward to sharing regular updates along the way. We’ve seen broad buy-in for the carbon price among business leaders at Microsoft, especially among groups whose cloud-based businesses are powered by energy-intensive datacenters.
We believe that our carbon neutral commitment with a cascaded carbon fee is consistent with the culture of innovation at Microsoft which will help increase our focus on efficiency and clean energy. We also recognize that there is much more work to be done and that we will need to evaluate and adjust our approach on an ongoing basis. As we learn from this effort, we will share our lessons and our results with the industry.
A summary of our carbon neutral strategy can be found in our whitepaper “Becoming Carbon Neutral: How Microsoft is Becoming Lean, Green, and Accountable”.
I welcome people’s feedback on this and look forward to sharing our learning from this project.
I left a comment here but it hasn't appeared - something up, or comment moderator still asleep?
Earlier comment never appeared - strange, I'll try again.
Well done on this initiative guys - impressive stuff.
Now, how about telling Azure users their energy and emissions footprint for their reporting purposes i.e. if I'm using Azure and I want to include the emissions of my Azure usage in my reporting, I can't because currently Microsoft don't tell me. You are not alone in this, almost no Cloud infrastructure provider does. However, with the CarbonSystems implementation, Microsoft should now be in a position to do this. It could be a nice differentiator for Azure.
I posted on a related matter at greenmonk.net/use-open-source-platforms-to-find-cloud-computings-energy-and-emissions-footprint
thanks for your comments. We don't filter (except spam), so not sure what happened with your earlier comment.
We're in the midst of our CarbonSystem deployment and are excited about the opportunities to integrate powerful analytics and intelligence to our existing systems to give us a more robust reporting. Given where we are with our deployment, we don't have any plans at this time to share emissions from Azure usage with customers. I'm passing along your feedback to our Azure team and appreciate your input.
Make sure you mention how many of you bike to work -- every pedal cleans the air. Seriously there's tens of thousands of you doing that.
just picked up this news on my site, solarfeeds!
For such a major post, very little interest. The whitepapers and thinking around all this are typically vague and point towards MSFT doing nothing, again, to actually REDUCE carbon output.
A nice foxtrot into carbon neutrality points to nothing - all your buildings are pretty modern or retro-fitted, but I would say represent a tiny element of your carbon production (akin to an airline in energy terms).
What will be the process for project submittals to Microsoft for consideration under this program? Our company has a portfolio of Registered offset projects that have successfully delivered verified emission reductions to similar entities such as yourself. We would like the opportunity to learn who will manage the offset procurement process and what Registries and project types will be considered.
Trinity Carbon Management
My notes on how to estimate and reduce ICT carbon emissions may be of interest. These are used for graduate university courses in Australia and North America: "ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future": www.tomw.net.au/.../introduction.shtml
Well done. Any carbon reduction initiative that can be measured in Money is a good thing.
Now I will begin my search for a entrepreneur that is willing to build an operating system that is not tied to a globalist global warming lie. Good bye Microsoft. Enjoy your ENRON-style accounting program.