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Microsoft has announced its intentions of achieving company-wide “carbon neutrality” for its energy use, beginning July 1. The US IT giant announced the ambitious, but “simple,” goal on Tuesday, after the expiry – and fulfillment – of the its 2009 goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent per unit of revenue by 2012.
In a company blog posted on Monday, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, Rob Bernard,” said the aim now was “to make the company’s business divisions financially responsible for the cost of their carbon emissions and drive even more focus on efficiency and environmental sustainability across Microsoft.”
And he told GreenBiz.com that the move was also part of a broader global strategy “of how to think about the role of information technology for enabling energy efficiency both within IT but also more broadly. …It made us ask, is there something we could do, if we had the right IT systems in place, that would enable us to challenge ourselves and push governance to the next level once we had more information and data? And if we had the right kind of information, why couldn’t we go as fast as possible?”
As we know, Microsoft’s search for the all-important “right IT systems” led to the selection of Australia-based CarbonSystems from a formidable list of 30-plus potential partners – including well-known sustainability software leaders such as CA Technologies, Credit360, Ecova, Enablon, Hara, PE International and SAP.
The Washington-based company will use CarbonSystems’ Enterprise Sustainability Platform to track and manage the carbon emissions from its 600 facilities in 110 countries. As Giles wrote back in March, this is not the Sydney-based firm’s biggest contract in terms of size – they already serve one of Australia’s Big Four banks and some big European manufacturers – but it could be one of the most significant. “They are a very tech-savvy customer,”
CarbonSystems CEO David Solsky told RenewEconomy. “The fact that they went to market, and chose us is a defining moment. Hopefully it can give some fantastic fuel for more contracts outside of Australia.” Not bad for a company that only entered the sustainability software market three years ago.
Solsky also told RenewEconomy he believes CarbonSystems won the Microsoft contract because of its ability to use cloud computing to simplify and streamline Microsoft’s global greenhouse gas management. And Bernard confirmed as much in his interview with GreenBiz.com this week: “The IT backbone and its near-real-time data will help Microsoft’s far-flung operations identify opportunities for efficiency measures,” he said.
“You may not be aware that employee travel is going up, or that compared to other similar offices around the world you are going out of the statistical norm. Or that the compressor [in a building’s HVAC system] is out of compliance. You may not be looking at the dashboard all the time but the system will and will alert you. So the governance model will start to change how you operate and how you think about efficiencies.”
Working in collaboration with CarbonSystems, we were able to develop an overarching data entry sheet specifically for online-NGERS reporting. This in turn took any confusion out of the data entry at the front end I believe we can even further streamline the process for the next reporting period.
James Peacock, Executive Manager, Environmental Sustainability, CBA.