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Climate change is a serious challenge for our society and for businesses around the world. As a company, we are focused not only on ways for us to reduce the environmental impact of our business, but also on the important business opportunity climate change presents. We believe that climate change is and will continue to drive significant changes in business and society; this is why last week Microsoft joined the growing number of companies who have signed on to the Climate Declaration, a nonpartisan statement from the business community that “tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century.”
By now, it is likely common knowledge that driving accountability for carbon emissions is an important part of Microsoft’s commitment to carbon neutrality (or visit past blog posts for a refresher on our carbon fee program, including our Carbon Fee Playbook). Fortunately for our planet, carbon accountability is getting more attention both in the media and with companies and individuals who are able to help make a difference, and we are excited to play a part in increasing awareness around this issue. Recently, the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) released a whitepaper featuring Rob Bernard and other thought leaders that focused on how corporations use carbon prices.
Yesterday, the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) awarded our colleague Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio with the 2014 C.K. Prahalad Award. The award, presented at the Corporate Eco Forum’s fifth annual C.K. Prahalad Awards ceremony, recognized winners for demonstrating “globally significant private sector action that exemplifies the fundamental connection between sustainability, innovation and long-term business success in a globalizing world.” The two other recipients of the award included Robert Carter, executive vice president of information services and chief information officer at FedEx, and The Global Water Challenge.
Last week I sat down with my colleague TJ DiCaprio, a senior director of environmental sustainability at Microsoft and the chief architect of our internal carbon fee. Over the last six months, we’ve received lots of questions about how things are going, what we’ve learned and what’s next. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation that touches on how the company is responding to an internal price on carbon and some of these investments we’re looking at making in 2013, such as power purchase agreements for renewable energy. Look for both TJ and I at the upcoming Greenbiz Forum – TJ will be speaking in NY on February 20th, and I will be in San Francisco on February 27th. Come say hi!
Earlier this week Microsoft, along with organizations like Goodwill Industries, Xerox and Sony America, were announced as founding members of R2 Leaders. R2 Leaders are organisations that encourage use of the R2 Standard and have demonstrated a commitment to the safe, sensible and sustainable repair and recycling of used electronics. This reflects Microsoft’s commitment to support the development of standards for better reuse and recycling of electronic devices around the world. The R2 Standard for electronics disposal sets forth requirements relating to environmental, health, safety, and security aspects of electronics reuse and recycling. It also ensures that more toxic material streams are managed safely and responsibly by downstream vendors – all the way to final disposition. It also prohibits e-recyclers and their downstream vendors from exporting these more toxic materials to countries that have enacted laws making their import illegal. Worldwide, over 540 facilities in 17 countries are certified to the R2 Standard.