Microsoft Honored as 2015 Lighthouse Activity by UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Initiative

Today, we are pleased and honored to announce that Microsoft recognized as a 2015 Lighthouse Activity winner by the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change’s  (UNFCCC) Momentum for Change initiative for our work in establishing an internal carbon fee.

Figure 1 - Community members document seedlings in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. Image courtesy of Infinite Earth Rimba Raya Field Team
Figure 1 – Community members document seedlings in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. Image courtesy of Infinite Earth Rimba Raya Field Team

Making Global Progress

The carbon fee has been honored in the ‘Financing for Climate Friendly Investment’ category of Lighthouse Activities. This category showcases activities that promote low-carbon growth and help build resiliency through the use of innovative financing mechanisms. Today, the UN is recognizing Microsoft’s carbon fee as an innovative way to not only take accountability and reduce our carbon footprint, but also as a mechanism that delivers a range of benefits around the world.

The company-wide carbon fee was first implemented in 2012, as part of our ongoing, companywide commitment to carbon neutrality. The internal carbon fee holds our business groups financially responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for their carbon emissions. That includes improving efficiencies, purchasing green power and an extensive carbon offset program.

The carbon offset projects Microsoft supports have impacted more than 6 million people around the world to date. These projects don’t just offset carbon, they also provide sustainable jobs, healthcare, education, clean water, and empowerment opportunities to millions worldwide while helping build and accelerate low-carbon economies.

Building Momentum

The Lighthouse Activities honored by Momentum for Change demonstrate the breadth and depth of private sector support to address climate change, and provide a path towards sustainable economic development in emerging nations. With just over a month to go until December’s COP 21 activities in Paris, we hope that the award and our work help send a strong signal that companies are ready to support their governments’ in taking action on climate change.

We are encouraged by the accelerated pace of activities leading up to the COP21 negotiations, and we are working hard to do our part.  Today’s award adds to a number of other recent sustainability milestones for the company—among them the recognition by the EPA on October 19th as a Green Power Partner of the Year, the support of the UN’s Climate Neutral Now initiative, and engagement as a founding member of the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge.

As more and more organizations and industries pursue carbon neutrality and carbon pledges, new business opportunities will emerge—increased investment in clean energy resources and generation, for example—that will accelerate a new wave of innovation which will be required as society seeks to meet the challenges of climate change through both policy and technology.

We believe that Microsoft can be an important contributor and catalyst for innovation as these developments take place; our history and experience in developing software and technology that helps people and organizations reduce their impact on the environment will hopefully enable us to play a positive role in helping our customers and society transform to meet the challenges or climate change. While we are honored by the UN’s recognition, there is still much left to do in our journey towards creating a more sustainable future —and we remain strongly committed to doing so.

Follow us on the Microsoft Green blog and on Twitter to learn more about what we are doing to work toward a more sustainable planet.

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