Reducing Microsoft’s Carbon Footprint

Posted by Rob Bernard 
Chief Environmental Strategist

(Re-posted from Software Enabled Earth, Microsoft’s environmental sustainability blog)

Today, our CEO Steve Ballmer sent an e-mail to all Microsoft employees about Microsoft’s long-term commitment to increase our focus around environmental sustainability. As Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist, I’m humbled and excited that Steve has asked our more than 90,000 Microsoft employees in over 100 countries around the world to help accelerate the development of software solutions and advance scientific research to address some of the most pressing issues of our time — energy and climate change. We also announced our goal to reduce Microsoft’s own environmental footprint.

In coming posts, I will talk about how we view software as a key foundational component of helping accelerate scientific breakthroughs in better understanding our world and the changes that are likely to come. I will also discuss how we can enable the IT industry to significantly increase computing capacity around the globe, while simultaneously reducing the amount of energy required by our industry.

Today, I want to focus on our carbon footprint goal. We understand that environmental action must begin at home. Today, Steve announced to all employees that Microsoft has set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of revenue by at least 30% compared with 2007 levels by 2012. We’ll achieve this goal by improving energy use in our buildings and operations, reducing air travel, and increasing our use of renewable energy. As a technology company, we believe that our footprint goals will be met by leveraging software and technology. We will work to provide advances in our building operations, we will continue to expand our use of our Unified Communications tools (just last year we saved over $90 million on travel through the increased use of our UC tools), and will look for new ways to reduce our use of resources in our data centers by continuing to push the envelope on innovation in how data centers are designed, built and operated.

As excited as I am to announce our own footprint reduction, there is much more that we are focused on in addressing environmental sustainability. Microsoft and the IT industry in general have a tremendous opportunity to help people and organizations around the planet reduce their energy use and carbon emissions both through dramatically more efficient IT products, and by unlocking the power of IT to enable a more efficient economy through smart grids, smart buildings, telepresence, and more.

I’ll be writing more about what Microsoft is doing on all of these topics and reporting on our progress toward our goals in the months to come, but would welcome you to visit for much deeper information of how we’re striving to work with our partners, customers, governments and non-governmental organizations on solutions to these pressing global problems.

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