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One of the great joys of my job, and something that motivates me to come to work every day, is the idea that our work can make a difference. In the past year, our team, along with NGO partners and carbon offset companies, have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to decide how best to leverage Microsoft’s carbon neutral funds. Today, I am pleased to share with you some of the projects we are funding.
What if there was a giant computer model that could dramatically enhance our understanding of the environment and lead to policy decisions that better support conservation and biodiversity? A team of researchers at Microsoft Research are building just such a model that one day may eventually do just that, and have published an article today in Nature (paid access) arguing for other scientists to get on board and try doing the same.
When Drew Purves, head of Microsoft’s Computational Ecology and Environmental Science Group (CEES) and his colleagues at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, United Kingdom, began working with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC), they didn’t know they would end up modeling life at global scales. “UNEP-WCMC is an international hub of important conservation activity, and we were pretty open-minded about exactly what we might do together,” says Purves. But they quickly realized that what was really needed was a general ecosystem model (GEM) – something that hasn’t been possible to date because of the vast scale involved. In turn, findings from a GEM could contribute to better informed policy decisions about biodiversity.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are pleased to report that Microsoft’s supply chain for hardware and packaging (Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Information Services (MSCIS)) was ISO 14001 certified this month. Though we have had a longstanding commitment to supply chain sustainability, including a strict Supplier Code of Conduct that requires Microsoft suppliers to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility, this level of certification represents a new commitment to minimizing the environmental footprint of our hardware and packaging.
As people’s attention turned toward climate change this week with Earth Day this past Monday, several media outlets highlighted issues related to climate change that impact more than the weather. Climate change is a real health concern, according to The Guardian, as an increased amount of evidence frames climate change as a public health risk. GreenBiz also explained the business-related issues tied to extreme weather. Read on to learn more about climate change concerns.
We’re always interested in the role that IT is playing in shaping how resources get used in the agricultural sector—figuring out how to grow and produce food more efficiently and using fewer resources will become more and more important over the coming years.
One experiment in urban farming is taking place right under our own roof here at Microsoft, run by Mark Freeman and the company’s dining services team, Dining at Microsoft. By growing food onsite and vertically integrating part of our food production, Dining at Microsoft has created a unique opportunity to increase the overall quality of the customer experience, improve the quality of the produce, and decrease the company’s ecological footprint.