How Microsoft’s carbon offset strategy helps boost biodiversity and local communities in Madagascar and Indonesia

On Wednesday, Josh Henretig on the Microsoft Green Blog dove into the jungles of Madagascar and the wilds of Indonesia for an in-depth look inside the company’s carbon offset strategy.

That strategy, as explained in a previous blog post, is part of Microsoft’s commitment to carbon neutrality. The company has chosen to invest in carbon offsets because, in addition to helping achieve global emissions reductions, carbon offsets help deliver economic, societal and educational benefits that Microsoft is already committed to providing around the world.

In Madagascar, Microsoft is partnering with The CarbonNeutral Company and project developer Wildlife Conservation Society to support the Makira Project, which aims to limit deforestation – and thus offset carbon emissions – while improving local communities around the forest.

“The project works in close collaboration with a ‘protection zone’ of 320,000 hectares (1,235 sq. miles) that makes up 120 villages and more than 50,000 people,” Henretig writes. “It is estimated that successful implementation of the project will decrease the deforestation rate to under 100 hectares annually while also aiding and educating the local populations on more sustainable practices.”

On the other side of the Indian Ocean in Indonesia, Microsoft is working with project developer InfiniteEARTH to support another community development and biodiversity conservation project. In this case the project will help protect the endangered Borneo Orangutan as part of preserving carbon-dense tropical peat swamp from deforestation.

“Deforestation in this part of the world has more than doubled over the last decade as palm oil is increasingly popular in the commercial food industry, and it is estimated that 85 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from Indonesia are a result of deforestation and peat fires,” Henretig writes. “With nearly 85 percent of all palm oil production coming from Indonesia and Malaysia – and the industry expected to double by 2020 – deforestation releases carbon emissions, while also destroying habitat of endangered species, contributing to soil erosion and increasing pollution to water ways.”

To find out how the projects Microsoft is supporting in Madagascar and Indonesia are proceeding and their local impact, from ecosystem conservation to community development, head on over to the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff