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Sustainability and finance are beginning to merge thanks to a couple of new and innovative programs coming from Wall Street. Whether it’s valuing the carbon sequestration potential of a rainforest in Ecuador or helping investors gain more green returns, the finance sector is pioneering innovative approaches to sustainability. Read on to learn more about the possibility of an online natural asset exchange to value natural and social assets and Morgan Stanley’s new Institute for Sustainable Investing to enable its clients to invest in renewable energy and livable communities.
This October, our Microsoft Ireland team received the top honor at the 2013 Repak Recycling Awards for their efforts in packaging reduction and implementing more sustainable packaging protocols. The awards are given to organizations that have a remarkable focus and determination to implement best practices in packaging reduction.
Last year we announced that Microsoft would make a commitment to become carbon neutral. The cornerstone of that commitment was an internal carbon fee that’s designed to increase the company’s costs for using carbon-based forms of energy. An intended result? Buying more renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient. Today, we are pleased to announce that we are moving forward with purchasing renewable energy directly. We have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy in Texas that will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) assessment earlier this month confirmed with 95 percent certainty—a very high scientific threshold—that climate change is caused by human activity. It also recommended that the time is now for society to turn toward solutions to reduce emissions—and that’s particularly true of the business community. Read on to learn more about why environmental advocates are calling for businesses to take responsibility for climate change and how Ford is using big data and analytics to increase the fuel economy of its vehicles—a great case study in how one company can help green its industry.
What does it take to get to zero waste? As reported on the blog in December, the dining facilities on Microsoft’s Puget Sound campus were certified by the Green Restaurant Organization for diverting 99 percent of food waste to recycling and compost. But we’re taking steps to reduce or divert all waste from our operations—from food to packaging to e-waste. This puts us on the path to diverting 90 percent or more of all waste, the industry defined benchmark for achieving Zero Waste.