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Environmental sustainability is at the core of our businesses practices around the world. As we strive to reduce the impact of our own operations and products, green efforts made by our offices around the world are helping us elevate our position as a sustainability leader in the global technology sector.
Earlier this month Microsoft’s India offices participated in Green Office Week, which included four days of presentations on everyday actions Microsoft India employees could take to contribute to the company’s sustainability efforts. The week culminated with employees making ‘green’ resolutions for the coming year.
Presentations throughout the week included primers on how employees can ‘go paperless,’ save electricity, properly dispose of e-waste and conserve water. While these are sustainability issues on a global basis, some of them are particularly relevant issues in India. For instance, in 2013 the anticipated peak shortage in India will be 10.6 percent, according to India’s Central Electricity Authority. With greater demand for energy than supply, saving electricity is a paramount issue in India. At the same time, becoming more energy efficient in India means that the remaining energy capacity reduces pressure on the electricity grid and helps make power available for people who need it. And in addition to energy efficiency efforts, India is fast at work building an infrastructure of renewable energy. Recently a company intending to build a power plant running on city waste announced that it is planning a $200 million IPO, a sure sign that the future of India will include more renewable energy.
Participating in Green Office Week in India is just one of the many ways our employees contribute to Microsoft’s environmental sustainability efforts. For more information, check out our environmental sustainability and principles.
With government instructions to corporates & companies to allocate 2% of their profits for charity and CSR programs and with the global warming (climate change) risks looming over the planet, Indian companies have been repositioning and reorienting their business operations, practices and organizational culture to adjust to this changed scenario.
The term CSR has been used with varied meanings - from the ingrained social improvement programs of reputed business houses of India (Tata, Birla and Ambani business groups which were the prominent few practicing CSR for several decades since independence) to "CSR Days" by companies every year when social service work is implemented by them in the communities they operate in. Until the last decade, CSR and sustainable development have been moving along parallel tracks in the world. The links between these two aspects have merged today into a single term - "Sustainability" that covers the full gamut of social, business, environmental aspects (termed "triple bottom-line") criteria.
Today we see big companies rising up the occasion and forming a formal sustainability division and creating a
coherent, focused approach towards integrating sustainability into their operations and into their organizational culture. We can expect to see several green products and technologies in most aspects of industrial development, redesigning of business operations and creation of energy-efficient supply chains. Employees and staffs are also being educated and instructed to follow ecologically friendly practices.
However, a key aspect that needs to be addressed is the problem of "average consumption desire" of the common person as time passes by. Desire levels are being increased day-by-day by marketing/sales departments of same companies to increase revenue which will adversely influence the livability/sustainability criteria that they are now re-orienting themselves to face. The roots of the current crises resulted from aggressive desire to advance forward on the materialistic plane even at the risk of damage to the earth. Hence addressing the root causes by proper "temperance" education (i.e., moderating our consumption levels) by companies and individuals would be the best way to go forward.
CSR/sustainability should not become a "fashion-phrase" as other management jargon. It is a critical planetary livability & survival issue that needs to be tackled not just by companies, but by society overall, starting from educating children in primary schools.