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Thousands of teams from more than 70 countries around the world competed in the Imagine Cup National Finals this year, and earlier this month, 34 of those teams traveled to Seattle to compete in the Imagine Cup World Finals. Imagine Cup is an exciting, vibrant event that challenges students to use Microsoft technology to develop innovative solutions. The year-long contest gives students the opportunity to compete in three categories – Games, Innovation and World Citizenship – for a spot at the World Finals, this year held in Seattle, Washington. As part of the World Citizenship category, we saw some really interesting projects that addressed environmental sustainability issues, in particular electricity consumption.
For the last year Microsoft has been working with i-fixit, the online repair manual site, to develop and test a curriculum to help people start a small business offering repair services for mobile phone, tablets and laptops. The work was sponsored by our Registered Refurbisher Program, which already works with thousands of PC refurbishers to extend the life of Windows PCs. While good for business and the economy, there is a large environmental benefit from this work, especially when applied to mobile phones and tablets.
Each quarter, Microsoft gives out an Environmental Sustainability Action Award, along with a donation to an environmental charity of the winner’s choice, in recognition of an employee or team who has shown leadership, exemplifying how Microsoft and its employees can have a positive impact.
We all know that food is one of the basic elements of survival. And yet the world is transitioning from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity, driven in part by population growth and rising affluence, as well as growing water shortages and the earth’s rising temperature. In response to this concern, Microsoft and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have teamed up to address Food Resilience, one of the themes of the White House’s Climate Data Initiative.
Microsoft is committed to reducing our environmental footprint, and over the past two years we continue to meet our goal of becoming carbon neutral. Our approach to meeting that goal, however, continues to evolve. Today, we are announcing another move to make our operations more environmentally sustainable by signing a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy in Illinois that will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee.