Translations Best practice in French version Best practice in English version

MICROSOFT introduces a carbon tax in the company to reduce its energy impacts

4. Environment

Energy / Greenhouse Gases (GHG)


Microsoft is an American multinational, based in Redmond, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who develops licensing, software and hardware in the field of computer science. Microsoft employs nearly 100,000 people in more than 100 countries for a capitalization of 314 billion dollars, and the benefits of 22 billion: the 8th largest capitalization of the world. Its last notable acquisitions are Skype in 2011 and Nokia in 2014. Microsoft wants an effective measure to reduce its environmental impact and introduced on July 1st 2013 a carbon tax internal to the company.


  • Put a price on carbon, increasing accountability driving culture change
  • Become a leader in the search for energetic efficiency
  • Master energy costs and free up funds for other programs


To implement this carbon tax, a few steps were necessary :

- Establish a carbon footprint of Microsoft

- Put in place a carbon reduction policy and an investment strategy

- Determine a price of carbon, a tax ("carbon fee")

- Approval of stakeholders, establish governance with "feedback".

- Administer tax, communicate and evolve in order to increase the impact

Means are mobilized :

- Humans: cooperation of the departments of the company, partnerships with NGOs (tips), formation of the Carbon Neutral Council, internal Committee composed of organizational key services, finance, which provides tracking data, ensures the approval of investments related to the carbon tax, the maximization of sustainable impact

- Equipment: new data centre built in Ireland, wind powered, innovation financed by the tax

- Financial: Internal investment, green energy projects on the sites, creation of a carbon tax: each service is taxed on its consumption of electricity, compared with the previous year

Best Practice spotted in 2014 by the World Forum for a Responsible Economy.


  •  $ 1.5 million saved in 1 year on the energy consumption of the campus of Microsoft; decrease in expected costs related to the travel by airplane, reduction of energy costs of buildings
  •  Competition between the different departments around the challenge Carbon Fee, team motivation for the project and strengthening of internal relations
  •  Positive communication around green energy tax (ex datacenter in Ireland, in 2014 in the United States-funded


  •  The carbon tax from 2013 allows  to compensate the entire carbon emissions from data centers, offices, production software, air travel, according to the plan "carbon-neutral" launched in 2012
  •  70% green energy purchased by the enterprise, increase of 1.1 billion kWh in 2011 to 1.9 billion in 2012
  •  Reallocation of the funds raised by the tax to other projects such as the protection of ecosystems or training in agriculture.
99000 (2013)
61 milliards deuros
United States


Ray Pinto

Mise à jour le 30/05/2016

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