What do tracking bees, optimizing smart grids, helping farmers in India determine the best time to sow their crops, and recycling used e-devices have in common? These are just some of the passions that I have seen Microsoft employees embrace and pursue, carrying the spirit of Earth Day with them throughout the year. They are great examples of how creativity, ingenuity and passion, paired with digital technology can transform the way people and organizations consume resources in a positive way.
Microsoft encourages creativity and innovation, and this environment has enabled a number of employees to combine their technology and interests to help foster a more sustainable future for our company and the communities in which we operate.
This Earth Week, we’re proud to feature four Microsoft employees—working different organizations across the globe—who are tackling environmental challenges and advancing solutions that benefit our company, our communities and the planet.
- Prashant Gupta in India is working with the U.N. agency ICRISAT—the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics—to help farmers determine the best time to sow their crops. This is especially challenging and important due to changing weather patterns.
- Karen Chalk led the company’s early efforts on e-waste recycling and embedding sustainability in procurement work. Her ideas have since evolved into well-established programs that are now being used in 60 countries.
- Conor Kelly of Ireland began engaging on local energy projects before developing a Hackathon project on Smart Grids and now pursues sustainability work as a full-time job.
- Krista Conner of Seattle pursued a passion for beekeeping and helped create a Hackathon project that uses technology to help sustain crop production and better understand bee colony collapse, a challenge that beekeepers around the world are facing as bee populations are unexpectedly dying off.
Each of these sustainability leaders is combining their personal passion and expertise with Microsoft tools and technology to help create a smarter, greener future for everyone’s benefit. Read their full stories from Microsoft News.
Much of the culture that encouraged these projects has been driven by our internal carbon fee, instituted in July 2012, which holds our business groups financially accountable for the carbon emissions associated with their operations. While many parts of the carbon fee program focus on our carbon neutrality goal—we have reduced our emissions by more than 9 million mtCO2e, invested in more than 14 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of green power, and had an impact on more than 7 million people through carbon offset community project investments—the fee also has helped establish a culture of sustainability across Microsoft that has transformed how our leadership and employees around the world approach their work, and has provided funding for many environmental projects that extend beyond our work on carbon and energy.
I would like to say thank you to Prashant, Karen, Conor and Krista for showing that it is possible to have a significant impact on sustainability, even if your job is not a full-time sustainability position. I hope you will take the time to learn more about their stories and their work.