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Microsoft Achieves Carbon Neutrality, Increases Green Energy Use By 70%

Microsoft says it achieved carbon neutrality after introducing an internal carbon fee for renewable energy and carbon offsets, which led the company to increase the purchase of green energy in the U.S. by 70 percent, from 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2011 to 1.9 billion kWh in 2012.

The software company announced this and several other achievements on Monday in its 2013 Citizenship Report, which describes Microsoft’s corporate citizenship efforts during the last fiscal year and previews what is yet to come. The report was released alongside the company’s financial report.

Microsoft says it donates an average $2 million a day in software donations to nonprofits around the world. The company developed the Technology for Good program to help nonprofits implement Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based software solution that became available as a donation to nonprofits in September 2013. The software is now available in 41 countries and will be available 90 countries by July 2014, Microsoft claims.

Significant strides were made towards the company’s goal of reaching 300 million youth through the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, which provides education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to youth around the world. In its first year, Microsoft says the initiative has created opportunities for more than 103 million youth to help better themselves and their communities.

Microsoft employees reached a milestone of donating $1 billion (with Microsoft matching) to more than 31,000 nonprofits since 1983. In fiscal year 2013, employees donated more than $100 million to more than 18,000 nonprofits worldwide.

The company says it also launched the Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Center as part of an effort to help integrate human rights into its culture and throughout its operations. Among other duties, the Center will develop an annual program of events and engagements to advance understanding of the human rights impact of information and communications technology.

In related technology news, HP recently announced that it has set a goal of driving a 20 percent decrease in its first-tier manufacturing and product transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 2020, compared to 2010, a first for the information technology industry.

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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