Microsoft UK has become one of the first technology companies to achieve the Carbon Trust standard, which requires companies to measure and reduce their carbon footprint.
The voluntary standard does not require companies to hit a certain target, but to show that they have proactively measured and reduced their carbon footprint and will continue to do so. The company has reduced its carbon footprint by 7% compared to the 2007 figure it is using as a baseline. It wants to shrink it by 30% by 2012.
"Getting the standard has really helped us understand our footprint," said Darren Strange, head of environmental sustainability at Microsoft UK. "There is a financial incentive as well, as it reduces costs."
The standard also helps the company to save money on its carbon reduction commitment, which requires companies over a certain size to measure their carbon footprint and pay £12 per tonne. Some will then be able to apply for a rebate, depending on how well they can demonstrate their efforts to reduce it.
Strange said Microsoft UK has made cuts so far by reducing business travel, with executives using unified communications and video conferencing instead. Next the company is looking to reduce the number of buildings it runs by making more efficient use of space, and cut electricity use.
He added, "We don't see this as the end of it, but it shows we are on the right track."