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This is how we do business

From compliance and ethics to human rights and safety, learn how we hold ourselves to the highest standards.

Our approach to resourcing

Microsoft’s daily interactions with thousands of suppliers around the globe are matters of both great responsibility and opportunity. These partnerships help establish environmental policies and make our supply chain more sustainable. Our Supplier Code of Conduct establishes the fundamental principles of ethical and sustainable business we expect from every supplier with whom we work. We’re also committed to addressing the complex social and environmental issues involved in the production and sourcing of raw materials. We demand high ethical standards in our own operations and take continuous action to reduce the risk of materials from conflict areas from entering our process.

Breaking down sustainability

Take a closer look at our innovative investments in sustainable business practices.

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Details about specific substances, materials, and compliance

We phase out substances of concern from our products when technically and environmentally preferable alternative materials are available. We also work with the supply chain and other key stakeholders to ensure best practices are adopted and promoted.

Lead, mercury, cadmium

We phased these substances out from our products in compliance with the European Union’s Restriction on the Use of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) Directive in EU, but also went even further with stricter Microsoft requirements for cadmium.

Halogenated flame retardants

We have restricted and limited many halogenated flame retardants as specified in restricted substances specification. We not only meet legal requirements, but we have voluntarily phased out many halogenated flame retardants in certain applications.


All our devices comply with strict global safety and quality standards. Some metal alloys used on product surfaces such as stainless steel do contain nickel, but standardized testing has shown that these do not cause nickel sensitivity in the general population. We use nickel at levels well within current legal and safety limits. We offer a wide range of devices without stainless steel on their surfaces as well.


Use of certain phthalates in our products has been restricted since 2005. We now restrict the use of a broad set of phthalates in all our equipment, including those referenced in EU RoHS, EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and the chemical warning and disclosure law, California Proposition 65.

Global RoHS compliance/substance restrictions in China and Korea

All our devices are compliant with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) requirements — not only in Europe, but also globally. We also meet the requirements of China Management Methods for Controlling Pollution by Electronic Information Products for products destined for the Chinese market, including environmental protection use period (EPUP) marking, hazardous substance table, and package labeling. We are also in compliance with the requirements of Korea Enforcement Ordinance on the Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicles Act 2007. See the Declarations of Conformity (DoC) for our devices, which includes self-declarations to EU RoHS requirements for any specific product. We require our suppliers to conduct routine product material testing and submit declarations of compliance with the EU RoHS Directive and other applicable requirements. We audit our suppliers and manufacturers to evaluate product and packaging compliance with our specifications by using independent and certified third-party test laboratories. Based on these criteria, and our supplier's DoC, Microsoft considers our hardware products compliant with applicable laws and regulations worldwide. We note that EU RoHS does not apply to our software products, packaging, or optical media (CD-ROMs and DVDs).

For more information, please read our letter on compliance.

EU REACH Compliance

The EU regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has been in effect since June 1, 2007. The substance declarations from our suppliers enable us to provide our customers and consumers with information concerning Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) in articles above 0.1 percent by weight as required by Article 33 of REACH. We evaluate our products against the newest versions of the Candidate List of SVHC. Concerning the definition of an article, the European Court of Justice ruled on September 10, 2015, that each of the articles assembled or joined together in a complex product are articles and are covered by the REACH regulation’s requirements to notify customers and provide information when articles contain an SVHC in a concentration above 0.1 percent of their mass. Consumers may request a REACH declaration by emailing the Environmental Compliance Team at

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Enacted in August 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) limits the use of lead and certain phthalates in children’s products. While not considered toys, Microsoft designs its Xbox video game consoles and Xbox accessories to meet CPSIA substance restriction requirements due to potential use by children. For the same reason, Microsoft also designs its Xbox video game consoles and Xbox accessories to meet the substance requirements of the EU Toy Safety Directive.

California State Proposition 65

U.S. California State Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The authors intended the proposition to protect Californians and the state's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals. No Microsoft device triggers notification under California Proposition 65.

Ozone-depleting substances

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) restricts the use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in manufacturing, and Sections 4681 and 4682 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) impose an excise tax on the sale or use of ODS by the ODS manufacturer, producer, or importer and the sale or use in the U.S. by the importer of any “imported taxable products.”

To fulfill these legal requirements, Microsoft has established a strong company policy on prohibiting the use of ODS through its restricted substance specification that all suppliers must meet, an annual supplier disclosure, and supplier audits that validate ODS claims.

Battery compliance

Microsoft complies with global battery marking, substance restriction, consumer information, and transportation and recycling requirements, including those mandated by the EU Battery Directive. Additional information is available about battery recycling and transportation requirements for Microsoft products containing lithium ion batteries.

Packaging compliance

Microsoft designs its hardware and software packaging to meet global requirements. Microsoft uses specifications and testing to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including compliance with the EU’s Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste as amended, CEN packaging standards (EN 13427:2005), and United States Toxics in Packaging legislation. Packaging for Microsoft products meets heavy metal restrictions, labeling, and essential requirements regarding packaging optimization, manufacturing, composition, and recovery and reuse set by applicable standards.

Hardware compliance with recycling regulations

Microsoft has taken the following approach to comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive for its covered products (electrical and electronic equipment, or “EEE”):

  • Microsoft, where applicable, registers with national authorities in accordance with the requirements of each member state and the EU for Microsoft products subject to the WEEE Directive and reports data to such member states as required by the directive.
  • Microsoft pays fees in each member state to cover the WEEE management costs of its covered EEE.
  • Microsoft provides information to reuse centers, treatment, and recycling facilities regarding Microsoft EEE as required by each member state and the WEEE Directive. For more information, please contact Microsoft.
  • Microsoft products are designed to promote recycling, reuse, and proper waste management.
  • Microsoft products are labeled or stamped with the WEEE marking as shown below in accordance with European Standard EN 50419.

Important information for generators of WEEE from private households:

  • WEEE from private households is defined as WEEE generated by private households as well as commercial, industrial, institutional, and other sources that, because of their nature and quantity, are similar to WEEE from private households.
  • The presence of the WEEE mark (shown above) indicates generators of WEEE from private households are responsible for properly disposing of covered products. Marked products must not be disposed as a part of household waste. They must be returned to a designated collection point for their dismantling, recycling, and/or reuse. In some cases, WEEE-marked products can be returned to their place of purchase.
  • The proper disposal of WEEE by households will conserve natural resources (through reuse and recycling), and protect the environment and human health through proper disposal.
  • In some cases, your city, municipality, or member state may take enforcement action for improper disposal of WEEE.
  • For more information regarding WEEE disposal options, please contact your local waste agency, municipal office, retail store where you purchased the covered Microsoft product, and/or your waste management service, or visit your country’s government website.

Energy efficiency

Microsoft devices comply with the EU Ecodesign Directive for Energy-related Products and its implementing regulations when applicable. Our devices also comply with European Commission Regulation for Standby and Off Mode Power Consumption for Electronic Household and Office Equipment, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. state energy conservation standards when applicable. Products equipped with external power supplies meet U.S. DOE, U.S. California, and other country-specific efficiency requirements.

We are proud of our commitment to sustainability

Compressed material, ready for recycling

Full disclosure

100 percent of all components used in our products have full material disclosures — that’s more than 100,000 components!

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Knowing the risks

Microsoft screens our non-hardware suppliers against 23 different ethical, social, and environmental risks by country and commodity category.

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Much-needed time off

In FY16 we began integrating our new procurement standards into the contract renewal process to ensure our suppliers in the U.S. provide their employees who handle our work with at least 15 days of paid leave each year.

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Where did it come from?

Microsoft works actively with suppliers, industry peers, and other stakeholders to improve traceability.