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This week, GreenBiz featured an article from GLOBE-Net describing a joint report released by the UNEP Finance Initiative, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Blended Capital Group which argued that economic stability can only be achieved if environmental sustainability is factored into policy and financial risk analysis. Issues like climate change, resource depletion, and ecosystems destruction, the report argues, increase long-term risks that financial managers and policymakers rarely assess or manage – a decision that often threatens market growth and development. Why is this interesting to us at Microsoft? Like any large company, the state of the global economy has serious implications for our business. Moreover, several of the recommendations in the report champion some of the same approaches that we believe are crucial to tackling environmental challenges. For example, the report calls for the international community to “identify…and replicate how innovative approaches can be scaled and accelerated” to drive sustainable practices and to ensure that sound and sustainable principles undergird transparency in reporting environmental data.
Meanwhile, GigaOm Clean Tech posted a piece focusing on the dramatic decrease in wholesale power costs, a transformation that eMeter’s Chris King attributes to the development of demand response programs. Described as a program that compensates customers who agree to reduce their electricity consumption, demand response incentivizes utility companies and power purchasers for limiting energy use and becoming more efficient. As we continue to roll out a smart buildings pilot program on our Redmond Campus, demand response and the role of data analytics in predicting that demand response is top of mind for us. By introducing intelligent software and powerful analytics to existing building infrastructures, buildings can achieve significant reductions in energy use, become more efficient, and cost considerably less to operate.