Governance of CSR
Empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more means going beyond providing the products and services that allow our customers to do great things. It means being thoughtful about the impact of our own business practices, policies, and investments in communities.
We see the big picture
Microsoft’s Technology and Corporate Responsibility (TCR) team, in collaboration with leaders across Microsoft’s business and operations, drives companywide approaches to key corporate social responsibility issues. The head of TCR reports directly to Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, who sits on Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team and reports directly to our CEO, Satya Nadella. We work together to earn the trust and confidence of the public, our customers, partners, employees, and shareholders.
The charter for the Regulatory and Public Policy Committee of our Board of Directors includes the responsibility to “review and provide guidance to the board and management about the company’s policies and programs that relate to corporate social responsibility, including human rights, environmental sustainability, responsible sourcing, and philanthropy.”
Microsoft's work in corporate social responsibility fosters sustained business success over the long term. Our corporate governance framework, policies, and practices are described in detail in our annual proxy statement and the corporate governance section of our Investor Relations website.
Details about Microsoft’s Ethics and Compliance policies and programs include our Standards of Business Conduct, which applies to Microsoft employees, executive officers, our Board of Directors, and Microsoft subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (where Microsoft directly or indirectly owns more than 50 percent of the voting control). Channels are provided to ensure that concerns can be raised and subsequently addressed. All Microsoft employees must complete an annual Standards of Business Conduct training course, available in 16 languages. In FY17, as in previous years, course completion was more than 99 percent. In addition, mandatory trainings address the compliance risks of specific roles and business functions, while a variety of additional guidance options ensure awareness of our policies and our expectations for ethical behavior.
Working together with stakeholders
We know that the decisions we make affect our employees, customers, partners, shareholders, suppliers, and communities. That’s why we take their voices into account. Microsoft receives input from millions of people each year—from individual customers to policymakers and global human rights specialists. We bring outside perspectives into the company and inform our business decisions through a variety of feedback channels. And we go beyond formal channels, proactively engaging with key stakeholders, advocacy groups, widely recognized experts, CSR rating agencies, CSR-focused investors, and many others. We also share our learnings and practices thereby generating industry dialogue, informing public debate, and advancing greater progress.
The Microsoft Stakeholder Engagement in the Governance of Corporate Social Responsibility report shows the types of stakeholders we engage, how we engage with them, and examples of the results achieved.
Aligning our values to those of the world
Microsoft works to align our CSR commitments and CSR reporting to global standards. We base our CSR reporting on the Global Reporting Initiatives’ Sustainability Reporting Guidelines; in 2006, we endorsed the United Nations Global Compact; and we file an annual Communication on Progress implementing the UNGC’s 10 principles. In addition, we were among the first companies to align our human rights work with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to adopt the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. We’re actively engaged in supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and publicly report ways in which Microsoft contributes to the global effort to achieve the SDGs.
Driving positive impact to both business and society
We apply the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to our CSR materiality assessment to define our most significant CSR issues. Using this approach, we’ve identified the top issues. Our CSR materiality assessment reflects input gathered from our stakeholder engagement processes, consultation with Business for Social Responsibility, and other external experts, and consideration of the impact that Microsoft’s core businesses have.
- Applying technology for environmental and social good
- Climate change and energy
- Data privacy and security
- Empowering communities
- Ethical business practices
- Human capital
- Human rights
- Responsible sourcing and lifecycle impacts
Public policy engagement
During the launch of A Cloud for Global Good, Microsoft’s policy roadmap, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, articulated how we prioritize our CSR issues and how they connect to our business success:
“Technology is creating new jobs, but automation can challenge and even replace some traditional jobs. There are new challenges to privacy rights. There are new questions about income inequality. There are new opportunities but also challenges for people with disabilities.”
“If we don't acknowledge explicitly, at the outset, that this new era creates both opportunity and challenge, the truth is we'll do less than we should to make the most of the promise that lies ahead. We need to ensure that we move technology forward without leaving people behind.”
“This requires that we accept a sense of shared responsibility. Those of us who work in the tech sector and the private sector have an important role and responsibility, as do people across civil society, and as do governments around the world.”
To fulfill that responsibility, we need to ensure that the cloud is trusted, responsible and inclusive. Microsoft’s efforts include:
- Our human rights commitments, and our commitments to privacy and data security work to ensure that our cloud is trusted.
- Our commitments to environmental sustainability, responsible sourcing, and empowering our employees to ensure that our cloud is responsible.
- Our commitments to accessibility, global diversity and inclusion, and empowering communities to ensure that our cloud is inclusive.
Learn more about our participation in the public policy process by visiting our Public policy engagement site.
Our leadership role in areas of public policy not only enhances our shareholder value, it contributes to maintaining a free and democratic society.
Learn more about our participation in the public policy process.