Microsoft’s Carbon Fee Highlighted by UNFCCC at Paris Climate Talks

 |   TJ DiCaprio

Today I had the honor of sharing Microsoft’s innovative carbon fee and three years of impact on a panel at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

In October, Microsoft announced that we’d been honored as a 2015 Lighthouse Activity winner by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Momentum for Change initiative for our work in establishing an internal carbon fee. Recognized under the “Financing for Climate Friendly Investment” category, Microsoft’s internal carbon fee has played an important role in making the costs associated with carbon tangible across the entire company and has created a virtuous cycle of environmental responsibility within our organization.

Since 2012, Microsoft has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power—from the 110-megawatt (MW) Keechi Wind Project in Texas that we funded through a 20-year agreement to purchase 100% of the new 175 MW Pilot Hill Wind Project outside of Chicago, our largest power purchase agreement to date.

We have also invested in global carbon offset projects in 23 countries, including India, Peru, Guatemala, Mongolia, China, Brazil, Kenya, Cambodia, Turkey and the U.S. These projects have reached more than 6 million people and are estimated to prevent more than 600,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

What’s the direct result for Microsoft? Since implementing the carbon fee, we’ve reduced our company-wide emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e) and saved more than $10 million per year. We’re proud to be a carbon neutral company that is also 100 percent-powered by renewable energy.

As the U.N. climate summit draws to a close this week in Paris, Microsoft is privileged to have taken part. The challenge of global climate change is bigger than any single company—it’s one that we all face together. We at Microsoft are hopeful for a positive and meaningful outcome from this week’s international climate negotiations, and remain committed to do our part to shape a brighter, and greener, future.

Click here to see an infographic on our carbon fee published by the UNFCCC.

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