Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Microsoft loses its way on the path to lower carbon emissions

In its 2011 Citizenship report Microsoft owns up to being behind in its plans to reduce carbon emissions. The company reports that in 2010 the greenhouse gas emissions it counted were up almost 16% to 1,502,736 metric tons CO2e. The growth by type of emission was:

  • Scope 1 (direct emissions) up 14%

  • Scope 2 (indirect - electricity) up 11%

  • Scope 3 (indirect – air travel only) up 40%

The company’s focus is in reducing emissions in three areas 
of operations seen as having the greatest potential for emissions reductions: data centres, travel, and facilities. But despite the actions taken, Microsoft has fallen behind in it’s target.




The goal is to reduce carbon emissions per unit of revenue by 30% (from 2007 levels) by 2012. No details were given of overall progress to date, but with emissions up almost 16% in calendar 2010 and revenue up just 12% for the financial year to June 2011, it looks like emissions per unit of revenue took a step backwards.

It’s no surprise, then, that the company is ‘developing new strategies to meet our goal’ - I look forward to hearing more.


At least Microsoft has published detailed emission figures, even if it is a bit cagey about progress towards targets. Apple hasn’t even done that. In its 2011 Global 500 Report the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) lists Apple as one of the top 10 largest non-responders by market capitalisation. Strangely, the company did answer the CDP questionnaire in 2010 but in 2011 it declined to participate. Shame.

© The Green IT Review

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