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Anyone following sustainability conversations this week would see that climate change remains front and center. Capturing a number of headlines was a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. and the second “most extreme.” Elsewhere in corporate sustainability, Walmart launched “My Sustainability Plan,” a program for their employees which helps tackle sustainability issues in their own lives.
In the New York Times best-selling book Ready Player One, the protagonist powers his laptop by bicycle. While Microsoft is seeking other alternative energy sources to power the cloud, we are also big proponents of bicycle commuting at our Puget Sound campus, home to 50,000 employees. In fact, the League of American Cyclistshas deemed Microsoft a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business among other recognitions.
At our Redmond campus, Microsoft incorporates many amenities for two-wheeled commuters, including 23 covered and secure parking cages, on-site bicycle shops with subsidized tune-ups and complimentary shower facilities at all worksites. In addition to the bicycle lanes throughout our campus, the network of regional trails in Redmond extend the safe and functional experience for our cyclists. In fact, Redmond is home to the only velodrome in Washington State and proudly calls itself the Bicycle Capital of the Northwest.
The New Year is upon us, and 2013 is expected to be a busy year in environmental sustainability, with GreenBiz predicting in a recent story on 2013 trends that investment in smart buildings and smart cities will continue to grow. The first few days of 2013 also included a down-to-the-wire political showdown as the fiscal cliff was narrowly averted by Congress. The environment was a winner in the final deal, which renewed the wind energy tax credit for an additional year.
Sustainability is a diverse issue that impacts all aspects of business and life. At Microsoft we’ve worked to infuse our company with environmentally responsible values and to be part of the larger discussion about how software can contribute to a more sustainable world. But as Microsoft’s business has broadened into devices and services, so has our commitment to sustainability. For that reason, we are renaming our team’s blog as the Microsoft Green Blog.
This new name is inclusive of the company’s overall commitment to environmental sustainability, from the adoption of our internal carbon fee to the role that information technology has to play in making a more sustainable planet. In 2013 we will continue sharing stories on this blog about how IT can enable society to seek sustainable solutions, and will also discuss larger issues of sustainability and how Microsoft is contributing to a more environmentally responsible world through our business practices.