Three years ago Microsoft made the long-term decision to commit to carbon neutrality. The company put the plan in motion by establishing an internal company-wide carbon fee. This carbon fee held all of Microsoft’s business groups financially accountable for their part in carbon emissions. Each business would be answerable to how it reduced or compensated for its carbon footprint.
Three years later, Microsoft has gathered enough money through these self-imposed fees to purchase more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of green power. The money has also helped to reduce the company’s emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent as well as save Microsoft more than $10 million per year. More importantly though, Microsoft has also been able to reinvest the finances collected to help others. With the money, Microsoft was able to assist more than 3.2 million people through purchasing carbon offsets from community projects worldwide.
With firms like the Paradigm Project, Microsoft was able to help fund initiatives that provided less toxic and energy-efficient charcoal cookstoves to villages in Eastern Province, Kenya. Another Microsoft supported carbon-offset project helped 100,000 acres slated for conversion into palm oil plantations, is instead became preserved for the wildlife natives of Borneo, Indonesia.
“The idea is that not only are we reducing the carbon from our own operations, but the point of investing in carbon-offset community projects is to make a difference in emerging nations,” explains Tamara “T.J.” DiCaprio, senior director of environmental sustainability at Microsoft. “Our focus is on low-carbon economic development and providing opportunities for sustainable jobs. There’s a strong component to make a difference in people’s lives.”
As the reduction of carbon emissions becomes a focus of sustainability for the workers and businesses within Microsoft, it’s nice to know that the company is also expanding that belief to support other projects.