Microsoft Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
At Microsoft, environmental stewardship is important and integral to their business. Over the past 30 years, they have translated their personal beliefs and corporate philosophy into meaningful environmental action.
In February 2006, they adopted the Microsoft Environmental Principles. These principles formalize the ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and natural resources, and the health and safety of employees, customers, and the local communities where they do business. Every Microsoft employee shares the responsibility of helping the company fulfill these principles, which guide our long-term goals and objectives.
"Green" and Energy-Efficient Operations
For many years, Microsoft has participated in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program by renovating older buildings and constructing newer corporate buildings to enhance energy efficiency and increase our use of recycled products and non toxic materials. In 2006, we took big steps toward increased sustainability at our campuses in Silicon Valley, California, and Hyderabad, India, and at our newest data center in Quincy, Washington.
In celebration of Earth Day 2006, employees at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus (SVC) unveiled a new solar panel power system—the largest in Silicon Valley. The system has 2,288 solar tiles that cover 31,000 square feet on the roofs of buildings across the campus. It generates 480 kilowatts per hour at peak capacity—enough to power nearly 500 homes—and will provide up to 15 percent of the energy used at SVC.
On April 17, 2006, Microsoft opened the doors to Building 2 on our new campus in Hyderabad, India. Building 2 is a state-of-the-art building that incorporates sound environmental design and furniture made by local Indian companies.
The east and west ends of the building, where the sun is strongest, are made of solid masonry to cut down on heat penetration, and the building will be protected from direct sunlight 70 percent of the time. Double-glazed windows allow natural light to enter, but sunshades cut glare and reduce reliance on air conditioning. Also, a reservoir will capture and recycle some 36,000 cubic meters of rainwater to serve the irrigation needs of the 48-acre campus and to run energy-efficient, water-cooled air conditioning units. Another energy-saving feature automatically turns off lights if offices are unoccupied for more than 10 minutes.
In May 2006, we broke ground on our newest and largest data center to date in Quincy, Washington. Opened in April 2007, the facility is powered by hydroelectricity, a renewable and clean-air resource. The construction also prioritizes maximizing energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of green building technologies under the LEED rating system.
Recyclable Product Packaging
As part of our continuing environmental stewardship, we eliminated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from all Microsoft packaging, effective December 31, 2005. Microsoft collaborated with organizations such as the Center for Health, Environment and Justice to understand the issues around PVC, and we worked with our channel partners to identify and implement alternative solutions to its use.
Through these efforts, we were able to remove PVC from product packaging by using a recyclable material and to reduce the use of plastic clamshells for our products by 70 percent. We are continuing our sustainability efforts in the area of packaging by substituting cardboard for styrene, minimizing packaging size, and testing the use of innovative packaging made from ecofriendly and biodegradable materials.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
At Microsoft, we are always working to reduce our environmental impact. For several years, we have tracked and made available to the public our annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory, in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
In 2006, Microsoft was named a "best workplace for commuters" in the Puget Sound area by a coalition that included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), local nonprofit organizations, and transit organizations. Microsoft also ranked second in the Top 20 list of best Fortune 500 companies for commuters. In 2005, the EPA recognized Microsoft as being among the top five Fortune 500 companies to meet a National Standard of Excellence, after Microsoft offered employees commuter benefits to increase their use of alternative forms of transportation.
The positive effects of these benefits include reduced fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. On our campus in Redmond, Washington, we expanded our fleet of hybrid vehicles to 25. We replaced nearly half of our passenger vans with these smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions and conserving approximately 20,000 gallons of fuel annually. We also replaced on-demand shuttle service with fixed routes and schedules to increase ridership by reducing wait times and improving the predictability of travel times for passengers.
Sustainability Enhancing Innovations
Another way Microsoft works toward environmental sustainability is through our software products, which can significantly reduce the energy consumption of computer hardware systems and can also reduce the need for business travel.
In the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems, the power options enable users to limit the amount of time a computer is idle before the monitor and hard disk shut off and the system goes into a low-powered standby or hibernation . According to the EPA, use of these power management features can decrease computer energy consumption by more than 50 percent.
In our newest operating system, Windows Vista, a new sleep mode combines the speed and low power of standby with the data-protection features of hibernation, giving users the best of both. In Windows Vista, users can choose any of three preconfigured power plans that balance performance and power consumption. Users can also create a custom power plan tailored precisely to meet their needs.
Microsoft is a leader in the development of collaboration software, such as Microsoft Office Live Meeting, SharePoint, and Microsoft Office Groove, which enables virtual meetings and more effective teamwork. These products are designed to enhance business productivity and to reduce the need for business travel and the physical transfer of documents, thereby helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts of businesses. Microsoft continues to invest in improving these products and to accelerate adoption of the new work practices they support.
Microsoft Windows Mobile is the leading operating system for handheld devices and cellular telephones. These devices enable remote access to e-mail and the Internet, and they require less energy than a standard laptop or desktop computer.
Microsoft Environmental Principles
At Microsoft, we work actively to protect our natural resources. We have corporate policies and procedures that conserve environmental resources at our facilities and in our products, packaging, and supplier operations. We follow strict policies to ensure that we remain in full compliance with international environmental regulations as well as the specific environmental requirements of each country where we do business.
Conserve, Reuse, and Recycle
Where feasible, we conserve natural resources through the use of recycled materials and supplies, the efficient use of energy, and the participation in recycling programs for our products after they have served their useful life. We encourage and support the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.
Reduce and Dispose of Waste
We reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling at our facilities. All waste shall be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.
Develop Safe and Sustainable Products
Microsoft develops, manufactures, and markets products that are safe for their intended use. Our environmental policies and practices aim to protect, conserve, or sustain the world’s natural resources as well as protect our customers and the communities in which we live and operate.
Make Environmental Stewardship Part of Our Business Relationships
At Microsoft, we strive to incorporate our Environmental Principles into our business relationships. We seek similar commitments to the environment from our major suppliers. We participate in industry groups to set industry standards on environmental practices. We strive to keep our customers informed of our efforts and welcome their feedback.
Continually Improve Our Performance
We set objectives and targets to ensure continuous improvement in our environmental performance. We value employee contributions to our environmental initiatives. We regularly review our business activity and assess our environmental programs, practices, and goals to evaluate our progress and to identify areas where further improvements can be made.
Demonstrate Responsibility to Our Stakeholders
We engage our stakeholders concerning our objectives and targets and periodically communicate our progress to our Board, shareholders, customers, and members of the public.