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At Microsoft, one of the ways in which employees can contribute directly to reducing the company’s environmental footprint is through their daily commute. We continue to find ways to encourage employees to get to work in a more sustainable way. One of the ways we help reduce the number of vehicles on the road is by providing employees access to programs like The Connector, a free Puget Sound bus service that is available to all fulltime Microsoft employees.
This year, instead of holding Microsoft’s traditional annual company meeting in September, the company held a brand new event called //oneweek—an entire week of activities at the end of July, dedicated to informing, inspiring, and actively engaging employees in the company's strategy, vision, and culture.. The week was kicked off by a company forum where leadership set priorities for the year, followed by a two-day company-wide Hackathon and a two-day Product Fair where internal Microsoft groups had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with employees about the exciting work they are doing.
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.