Microsoft Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30 Percent

Microsoft Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30 Percent

Microsoft set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at least 30 percent per unit of revenue by 2012.

The company announced to its employees last week that it will use its 2007 levels as a baseline for the goal, which it intends to meet by making its buildings and operations more energy efficient, using more green power and cutting air travel.

Part of this entails expanding the use of its own products, such as its Unified Communications (UC)  tools, which, by the middle of a companywide deployment, had saved the company more than $90 million in travel expenses. The platform's 2007 release includes instant messaging, audio, video, web conferencing and enterprise voice, all of which may reduce costs related to travel, commuting, enterprise telephony and office space.

An analysis published last month found UC generated an internal rate of return of 240 percent. By the end of fiscal year in June, employee air trips had declined 10 percent. That translates to more than 45,000 trips avoided, with total company savings of $93 million.

Overall, the company estimates the use of UC has generated more than $200 million in savings annually from increased productivity and reduced IT infrastructure and real-estate facility costs. Environmentally, UC has already helped the company cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17,000 metric tons.

"Microsoft research building" -- CC licensed by Flickr user Robert Scoble.