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This year, instead of holding Microsoft’s traditional annual company meeting in September, the company held a brand new event called //oneweek—an entire week of activities at the end of July, dedicated to informing, inspiring, and actively engaging employees in the company's strategy, vision, and culture.. The week was kicked off by a company forum where leadership set priorities for the year, followed by a two-day company-wide Hackathon and a two-day Product Fair where internal Microsoft groups had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with employees about the exciting work they are doing.
A thoughtful focus on environmental sustainability is prevalent throughout Microsoft, and this event was no exception. The Product Fair was a great opportunity for employees to interact directly with the Environmental Sustainability team: over 15,000 employees visited the event. We took this opportunity to answer questions about Sustainability at Microsoft and added new members to our Sustainability Champions program. Many employees were excited to hear about some of the great benefits that are available to the volunteers in the program, including private tours, invitations to visiting speaker events, community events, green teams, and more.
The Product Fair is an annual event that consistently draws a large crowd. With its inclusion into //oneweek, the event was even bigger and required additional space and power generation. In order to do this while providing cleaner energy, we used two biodiesel generators and a hybrid generator (solar, wind, biodiesel) from Solamor. This small change allowed us to reduce the emissions for the event by 42%! This was better than expected and it did not cost any additional money to use these greener energy generators. Since this was the first year powering //oneweek, we believe we can even have a larger reduction in emissions next year using what we learned this year.
In the company-wide Hackathon there were three exciting and actionable sustainability-focused projects created by the Microsoft Sustainability Champions volunteers, a group of more than 1,000 employees in the Puget Sound region:
Fair Trade Phone: This project team created a compelling vision and plan to integrate social and environmental responsibility into the full life-cycle of our devices, creating competitive differentiation for Microsoft in this hot marketplace.
XBOX Game for a Sustainable Future: This group imagined an XBOX game that entertains the masses while raising awareness and action around the ecological issues that face our planet.
Microsoft is Carbon Neutral: let’s help individuals become Carbon Neutral!: This team developed a vision and prototype app that enables individuals to understand and neutralize their own carbon footprint. The app suggests actionable steps that users can take to make a positive impact and measures results along the way. Users can compete with friends and colleagues to see who can achieve the biggest reduction, and can explore opportunities to offset their personal carbon footprint.
Although the Hackathon is finished, this hard work will not go to waste. Through the Sustainability Champions program, individual green teams will be set up for each project to continue moving these great concepts forward.
We are always working to build environmental sustainability into the culture at Microsoft. Follow the Microsoft Green blog and join the conversations on Twitter and Facebook to learn more.