Microsoft taking savings from internal carbon pricing to the bank

Microsoft has announced the results of the first three years of internal carbon pricing and a related carbon investment fund, and they are impressive. The pricing commenced in July 2012 following Microsoft’s decision to adopt a carbon neutral strategy for its global data centres, offices, software development lab and corporate air travel. They have realised $10 million in annual energy savings, emissions reductions totalling 7.5 million tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalents and 10.2 billion kilowatt hours’ worth of renewable energy investments. Departments within Microsoft have a line item in their budget that reflects the value of their emissions, which translates into new capital for sustainability initiatives with the carbon investment fund. The fund has financed 60 projects in 23 countries worth more than $2 million. Microsoft uses a formal grant application process for the funds and uses criteria including the following:

  • demonstrated carbon reduction
  • the project would not occur without the carbon fund investment
  • high quality estimates of cost and the carbon reduction
  • commitment to writing up the case study


Examples of projects that have received funds include saving 47,000 hectares of carbon dense rainforest in Borneo which was at risk from companies sourcing palm oil and a 20 year 110 Megawatt wind project in Texas.


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