Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer e-mail: Investing in Environmental Sustainability

ArsTechnica has post on Microsoft’s aim to reduce carbon emissions by 30%.

Microsoft aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent

90,000 Microsoft employees in over 100 countries around the world have been asked to help reduce Microsoft's environmental footprint by at least 30 percent.

By Emil Protalinski | Last updated March 16, 2009 12:40 PM CT

Microsoft aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent

In a post last week on the Microsoft's Environment Sustainability Blog, Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, explained Microsoft's goals for the environment: "Today, I want to focus on our carbon footprint goal. We understand that environmental action must begin at home. Today, Steve announced to all employees that Microsoft has set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of revenue by at least 30% compared with 2007 levels by 2012. We'll achieve this goal by improving energy use in our buildings and operations, reducing air travel, and increasing our use of renewable energy." I recommend checking out the full letter as it's a good read; TechFlash also has Ballmer's memo in full.

Microsoft’s Rob Bernard mentions Steve Ballmer’s email.

Reducing Microsoft’s carbon footprint

Today, our CEO Steve Ballmer sent an e-mail to all Microsoft employees about Microsoft’s long-term commitment to increase our focus around environmental sustainability. As Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist, I’m humbled and excited that Steve has asked our more than 90,000 Microsoft employees in over 100 countries around the world to help reduce Microsoft's environmental footprint; accelerate the development of software solutions and advance scientific research to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, -- energy and climate change.

But let’s straight to the email. Here is Steve Ballmer’s e-mail in full from Tech Flash.

From: Steve Ballmer

Date: March 11, 2009

To: Microsoft - All Employees

Subject: Investing in Environmental Sustainability

Microsoft has a long tradition of tackling tough challenges at a global scale. It started with our original vision of a computer on every desk and in every home. It continues with our current mission, which is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. Today, society faces concerns about energy use and about dangerous changes to our climate and environment. Microsoft is committed to helping address these challenges.

Even in this difficult economic environment, working on the issues of energy use and environmental change provides an opportunity to make a difference in the world. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s also an opportunity to grow, as the world transitions to new ways of using energy and managing natural resources. Serious efforts to address climate change will require that software plays an even greater role in our economy and our everyday lives. In the near future, applications will help individuals and enterprises track and improve their carbon footprint, while scientific computing will enable fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of complex ecosystems.

Microsoft offers solutions today like virtualization, power management, and collaboration tools that can help customers reduce their energy usage, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and cut costs.

Now we are taking the next step in our efforts to help address global environmental challenges by focusing on three core areas where Microsoft can achieve the greatest impact for our customers, for society, and for the company.
Using Information Technology to Improve Energy Efficiency Today society has the opportunity to use software to help eliminate more greenhouse gas emissions annually than are currently released by all sources combined in the United States. At Microsoft, we are working to accelerate technology breakthroughs that enable the transition to a cleaner, more energy-efficient economy. Our investments will focus on:

Reducing the energy use of information technology: With energy efficiency gains, the IT industry can dramatically increase computing productivity without increasing the amount of energy consumed by computers.

Enabling an ecosystem that uses IT to improve energy efficiency: Microsoft will work with other leading companies to use software to drive significant energy efficiency gains in everything from buildings and transportation to manufacturing and energy grids.

Building applications and services to track carbon emissions: To effectively reduce greenhouse gasses we need the ability to measure them accurately. Microsoft is developing solutions that will help businesses and governments track carbon emissions.
Accelerating Research Breakthroughs

Scientific research into the impact that humankind has on complex environmental and biological systems will help provide the insights needed for effective policy change in government and increased environmental awareness in people. It will also provide the foundation for technological advancements in energy usage, resource management, and environmental planning. Microsoft Research is working with leading scientists to expand the boundaries of our knowledge of the planet. We’re also working to create the tools, technologies, and models to help accelerate scientific understanding on a global scale. Our efforts include:
Enabling fundamental advances in science: Microsoft is working with the scientific community to monitor environmental conditions and develop computational methods and tools to help scientists correlate and analyze data across research efforts.

Modeling the impact of climate change: Microsoft is helping to create advanced modeling technologies that will improve our understanding of global and local climate changes and the environmental consequences of human activity on species and ecosystems.

Providing access to computing power for the scientific community: Microsoft will work with leading scientists around the world to provide access to our facilities, research, collaboration tools, and computing power to help them advance scientific research.

Responsible Environmental Leadership

Microsoft will cut the rate of our carbon emissions and continue to invest in efforts to significantly reduce our use of natural resources. The steps we’re taking include:
Reducing Microsoft’s carbon footprint: Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions per unit of revenue by at least 30 percent compared with 2007 levels by 2012. Steps we’ll take to achieve this include improving energy efficiency in our buildings and operations, reducing air travel, and increasing our use of renewable energy.

Optimizing our supply chain: We’ll focus on reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain—from how we deliver software to customers, to environmental practices in factories building our devices, to the food we serve.

Reducing our impact on the environment: We’ll continue to invest in programs and search for opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, including our waste stream, our water use, and our use of materials.
Together, these efforts represent an important long-term initiative for the company. We have a tremendous opportunity to help change not only the way we run our own operations, but also, through the power of software, to help our customers significantly reduce their impact on the planet.
For more information on these efforts, I encourage you to watch the Environmental Sustainability Webcast with Craig Mundie, Kevin Turner, and Rob Bernard, and to visit