Environmental sustainability

Microsoft is committed to leveraging technology to solve some of the world’s most urgent environmental issues, and focusing on key areas where we believe we can have the most positive impact.

Our commitment and approach

Empowering every person and organization on the planet to thrive in a resource-constrained world.

Focus areas

We focus our environmental sustainability work in the five areas where we believe we can have the greatest positive impact—carbon, energy, water, ecosystems (including food, agriculture, and biodiversity), and circular economy (including waste reduction). Across these areas, we work to reduce our impact within our own operations, collaborate with our partners to take advantage of digital transformations that reduce their footprint, and support innovation, R&D, and policies that help create a more sustainable future.

Carbon

We achieved carbon neutrality annually by improving operational efficiency, buying clean energy, and investing in carbon offset community projects. We fund both our carbon neutrality commitment and environmental innovation initiatives with our internal sustainability fee—charging our business groups for their emissions from electricity and air travel. We use our digital technology to decouple our economic growth from carbon emissions in our supply chain operations. And we disclose our carbon emissions and approach to climate change annually through CDP.

Learn more about our carbon program

Energy

We’ve committed to using 50 percent wind, solar, and hydropower electricity in our datacenters and campus by the end of 2018, to meet 60 percent early in the next decade, and to continue growing that percentage moving forward. We support the global clean energy transition by investing in technology research for smarter, greener grids, working to make clean energy more accessible and affordable, and backing clean energy policy. We increase the energy efficiency of our new devices and leverage the energy saving capabilities of Windows 10 to provide a better user experience while reducing consumer energy use. And we make our efforts accessible by reporting our energy consumption—including renewable energy procurement—annually through CDP.

Learn more about our commitment to clean energy

Water

At Microsoft, we believe in the sustainable management of the water resources we use across our operations. To support this, we’re focused on increasing our understanding of water-related risks and impacts to our business and to the communities we serve, setting meaningful goals, improving our water efficiency, and advancing innovative solutions to water challenges. Partnerships with companies like Ecolab, and technology innovations like the free, publicly-available Water Risk Monetizer tool, are not just helping Microsoft address its water-related risks—they’re also enabling other organizations to understand the true value, risks, and impacts of water in their operations. We make our efforts transparent by disclosing our annual water use, our water-related risks and governance of water through CDP. Further, we collaborate with our top spend production suppliers to achieve 95% reporting of water usage also through CDP.

Learn more about the Water Risk Monetizer tool

Ecosystems

Operationally, we’re investing in the long-term viability of ecosystems in the communities in which we operate. Through AI for Earth, we’re bringing together AI and cloud technologies, environmental science, and programmatic resources to empower people and organizations to solve global environmental challenges across water, agriculture, biodiversity, and climate change.

Learn more about AI for Earth

Circular economy and waste reduction

Our Puget Sound campus is zero-waste certified, and we’re working to reduce overall waste, and to divert at least 90 percent of our operational waste from landfills. We design our products, buildings, and operations around resource reduction and reuse, enabling a more resource-efficient and productive economy. Microsoft is a member of over 150 recycling programs worldwide, covering electronics, batteries, and packaging.

Learn more about our sustainable products

FY17 Highlights

We're focusing on water conservation, committing to renewable energy plans, and helping to optimize energy use and costs all over the world.

  • Support a greener grid

    To support a greener grid, we've signed a large renewable energy deal to power our Wyoming datacenter entirely by wind. We’ve also made our datacenter’s backup generators available to the local grid to boost reliability and capacity.

    Learn about our wind energy purchase
  • Innovating on carbon

    We’ve been carbon neutral since 2012, and we’re still innovating in this space. In 2017, we bought the first-ever carbon credits generated by US rice farmers—opening a new door in carbon markets for agriculture.

    Learn why we bought carbon offsets
  • Putting a spotlight on water

    Water is a growing focus for us, both internally and externally. With Ecolab, we launched the Water Risk Monetizer to help quantify the financial risks of operating in water-scarce areas of the world.

    Learn about the Water Risk Monetizer
  • Optimizing energy use in real time

    With the Smart Energy Azure Demonstration platform, consumers can optimize energy use, carbon emissions and costs. The tool lets households tailor energy use in real time based on when more clean energy is available on the grid.

    Discover the Smart Energy Azure Demonstration platform
  • Sustainability in product packaging

    In FY17 we reduced the weight of product packaging materials by 27 percent and decreased packaging related greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.

    Discover program management for sustainable packaging
  • Enhancing devices for energy efficiency

    The Surface Pro—with a faster CPU and display with accelerated inking—uses less energy than Surface Pro 4 and has a longer battery life: up to 13.5 hours.*

    Learn how we’re saving energy

FY17 Reporting resources


Get the bigger picture

Visit these key resources across microsoft.com to learn more about our efforts in environmental sustainability.

*Up to 13.5 hours of video playback. Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2017 using preproduction Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors of the Surface Pro line and extend its battery life.

City on the water, showing lighthouse and whale in water