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microsoft carbon offset program

Microsoft’s Carbon Fee Funds 15 Offset Projects

microsoft carbon offset programMicrosoft has used funds raised over the past year from its internal carbon offset fee to invest in 15 resource conservation and renewable energy projects throughout the world including Brazil, India, Kenya, Mongolia, China and the United States.

Funds raised through the fee also have been used for internal efficiency projects across the company to reduce carbon emissions, Microsoft says in a company blog post. The company has also purchased some renewable energy certificates. Microsoft doesn’t say how money it collected via the internal carbon fee.

Microsoft is supporting a project working with communities and local groups in Brazil’s Acre state to provide alternative models of economic development that won’t destroy the forest. This offset project aims to conserve 35,000 hectacres of rainforest that is at risk of being converted into cattle pasture.

Other carbon offset projects include a reforestation and community development initiative with farmers living at the base of Mount Kenya in Kenya, a program to provide energy efficient cookstoves and improved insulation for households in Ulan Bator, Mongolia (pictured), and investments in the Chifeng wind power project in China.

Microsoft began charging its business groups an internal carbon fee associated with the use of electricity and business air travel July 1, at the start of the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The company launched the carbon offset fee as part of a strategy to achieve net-zero emissions in its data centers, software development labs, offices and employee air travel.

The offset fee aims to change the accountability model and integrates carbon into the financial structure of the company. As a result, departments planning future business growth have to consider the carbon fee associated with operations.

The carbon price, which began low, was based on the blended costs of Microsoft’s current investments in clean energy, efficiency projects and carbon offset projects. The company’s governance council can allow the carbon price to increase over time to meet specific investment goals.

Photo Credit: Microsoft

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