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How Microsoft Is Going ‘Beyond Carbon Neutral’

microsoft-carbon-feeMicrosoft implemented an internal carbon fee in 2012 and achieved carbon neutrality that same year.

The tech giant reports annually on its progress and says since the carbon fee was implemented more than four years ago, Microsoft has reduced its emissions by more than 9 million mtCO2e, invested in more than 14 million megawatt-hours of green power, and had an impact on more than 7 million people through carbon offset community project investments. An earlier report said the carbon fee also saves Microsoft more than $10 million per year.

This year, Microsoft says it’s doing something different, evolving its program to “beyond carbon neutral,” as outlined in a white paper published yesterday, Expanding beyond our carbon neutral operations to accelerate global and local good.

This new commitment to “accelerate good” will focus on four key areas, as Microsoft’s senior director of environmental sustainability TJ DiCaprio writes in a blog post. The four areas are:

  • Renewable energy: Using the carbon fee funds to drive long-term commitments and develop new renewable energy procurement options.
  • Community projects: Investing in projects that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and partnering with other organizations to use technology to drive environmental, human health and biodiversity gains.
  • Climate Grants: Providing funds to accelerate climate-related energy and technology innovation.
  • Reporting: Expanding the company’s tracking and reporting to better measure its impact.

“The fee has helped establish a culture of sustainability in our company: sustainability is now an expectation of our leadership for how we operate and drive global impact. We hope that by sharing the lessons we’ve learned, our success stories, and our plans for our carbon program in the future, we will spark conversations and encourage others to act on this important issue,” DiCaprio writes.

Earlier this year, Microsoft won an EPA climate leadership award for its carbon fee.

In 2013 Microsoft published its carbon fee playbook, an overview on how it implemented its internal carbon price that includes a five-step process to guide other companies.

The new carbon fee white paper comes on the heels of an earlier announcement this week that Microsoft has made its largest wind energy purchase to date, bringing its total wind energy investments in the US to more than 500 megawatts.

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