More than $10 million has been saved every year and emissions reduced by the equivalent of 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide through investments in energy efficiency, green power and carbon offset community projects, software giant Microsoft says in a new report. The company, which set a voluntary internal carbon fee four years ago, says its carbon-neutral initiatives have impacted more than 3.2 million people in emerging nations.
It has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of ‘green power’ for lighting up its offices since July 2012. These facts came to light in its white paper that was released at the just concluded COP-22 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech in Morocco. “We seek to serve as a model in our commitment to environmental sustainability by delivering on our carbon neutrality commitment and uncovering new ways technology can help us better understand our planet,” says the paper, quoting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
It says the company’s goal is to reach a point where all greenhouse gas emissions are safely absorbed by healthy forests, soils, and other natural or nature-based infrastructure. “Since we implemented the carbon fee (July 2012), we have reinvested a portion of the carbon fee investment fund into our company through a range of internal carbon reduction initiatives, such as lighting equipment upgrades and e-waste recycling,” says the paper.
“Specifically, part of the cost of energy that we consume from carbon-based sources is ultimately redirected to invest in projects that reduce the environmental impact of our operationally controlled facilities.” The paper says that since the launch of the programme, the company has funded over 60 projects in 23 countries by investing more than $2 million. To establish the price on carbon, the company has a Carbon Neutral Council, a cross-corporate group that provides feedback on and buy-in to the programme.
To retire its e-waste appropriately, the company has recycled over 400,000 assets and reused over 350,000 assets in the US alone. The programme also supports additional recycling and reuse in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. To light up its offices, the company is switching over to renewable sources.
In November 2013, the company signed a long-term agreement with RES Americas to purchase 100 percent of the energy from the Keechi Wind Project, a 110-megawatt facility in Texas. Similar pacts were also signed with other renewable companies.