Microsoft to Business Units: Reduce or Pay Up

In less than two months, all direct operations divisions of Microsoft will be forced to reduce emissions or pay the price. But it's not a government organization or NGO who's enforcing the mandate – it's the company itself.

Microsoft announced this week it is committed to going carbon neutral by July 1 and is extending this responsibility throughout its company. Through what Microsoft deems the "accountability model," each division within the company will be responsible for its own carbon emissions, which will not only raise internal awareness, but will also send a strong message to stakeholders and competitors. And the company is taking the program one step further. As part of its neutrality goal, Microsoft will be imposing a carbon tax on all direct operations in more than 100 countries, including data centers, software development labs, air travel and office buildings. Divisions that do not meet emissions goals through efficiency measures and increased use of renewable energy sources must pay a carbon fee that the company will use to purchase carbon offsets.

By creating its own internal carbon market, Microsoft hopes to discourage unsustainable actions and incentivize environmental progress. And to ensure its success, the company has put forth the most effective motivator of all – money.

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