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At Microsoft we’re firm believers in the power of technology to address sustainability challenges, whether that’s by making cities smarter or enhancing efforts in energy efficiency. Smart cities were front and center in SmartPlanet, which cited a report that the collective ‘smart city industry’ could be poised for threefold growth by decade’s end. Meanwhile, the New York Times Green Blog asked how the Obama Administration will tackle climate change in the next four years by covering a guide released by the World Resources Institute.
To be successful in today’s market, businesses must be efficient. From managing paperwork to managing inventory, efficiency at all levels of business has an effect on the bottom line. At Microsoft, we’re constantly adapting to remain a leading technology company, and that is why we’re proud to support Anywhere Working— a United Kingdom-based group initiative that has called attention to the role flexible working plays in efficiency. Along with the benefits of increased productivity and employee wellbeing, flexible working can also support businesses’ environmental sustainability efforts.
Environmental sustainability is at the core of our businesses practices around the world. As we strive to reduce the impact of our own operations and products, green efforts made by our offices around the world are helping us elevate our position as a sustainability leader in the global technology sector.
Earlier this month Microsoft’s India offices participated in Green Office Week, which included four days of presentations on everyday actions Microsoft India employees could take to contribute to the company’s sustainability efforts. The week culminated with employees making ‘green’ resolutions for the coming year.
As a consumer, what do you consider before making a purchase? According to new research by Cone Communications, 71 percent of Americans take environmental impact of the product into account. This is an increase from even four years ago when only 66 percent of Americans considered the environment before making a purchase. What’s more, Good.Must.Grow, a self-proclaimed socially responsible marketing agency, released some statistics on consumer behavior this week, finding that 60 percent of respondents also prefer to buy goods from socially-responsible companies. Read on to learn more about the influence corporate social and environmental responsibility has on consumer purchasing.
At Microsoft, we have an opportunity to shift the needle on corporate sustainability practices at many levels due to our size. This extends beyond initiatives such as our carbon neutrality commitment, our work in IT efficiency and our efforts to create green data centers. This is even true in Microsoft’s dining facilities, which recently achieved the distinction of being near-zero waste by diverting 99 percent of food waste to recycling and compost.
While we’re primarily known as a devices and services company, our Redmond campus is similar to a medium-sized city with more than 50,000 employees. That explains why in addition to making Xbox and Windows, Microsoft is also certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national organization founded in 1990 to provide a convenient and cost-effective way for restaurants, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to become more environmentally responsible.
The GRA’s certification system is based on points given for seven criteria: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction. Microsoft is the first corporate dining program to receive the 3-star certification and is working toward four stars.