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May 9, 2012

Microsoft to go carbon neutral

Technology giant wants to do its bit for the environment

By Steve Evans

Microsoft carbon neutral

Microsoft has announced it will be doing its bit for the environment by going carbon neutral.

Starting July 1, 2012 the Redmond-based software giant will aim to be carbon neutral across its, "direct operations including data centres, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings," COO Kevin Turner wrote on Microsoft’s blog.

"Working on the issues of energy use and environmental change provides another opportunity to make a difference in the world. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s also an opportunity to promote positive change, as the world transitions to new ways of using energy and managing natural resources," he continued.

"We recognise that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue."

Turner explained that Microsoft will be launching a scheme whereby each department is responsible for the carbon it generates. Turner hopes this will create, "incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting and an overall reduction of our environmental impact."

"To put this into action, we’re creating a new, internal carbon fee within Microsoft, which will place a price on carbon. The price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and will be applied to our operations in over 100 countries," Turner explained. "The goal is to make our business divisions responsible for the cost of offsetting their own carbon emissions."

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The company’s giant headquarters in Redmond is already running a smart building pilot, which has projected savings of $1.5m during 2013 and provide a return on investment in just 18 months.

The announcement comes not long after Greenpeace produced a scathing report into how energy efficient some of the tech world’s biggest names are. The report criticised Microsoft, Apple and Amazon in particular for their reliance on coal powered data centres.

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