Sustainability Strategy at Microsoft UK

The Challenge

Microsoft globally was relatively slow to engage with the environmental sustainability agenda. But the UK has been always been at the forefront of environmental and specifically climate change issues – both a regulatory and a business best practice viewpoint. When I joined the Citizenship team, it was imperative that the UK subsidiary quickly understand the key issues emerging  in the market, prepare for local legislation under the Climate Change Bill, prepare an internal communications programme, as well as create a customer-ready story with which to go to market.

I was appointed interim environmental sustainability lead for the Microsoft UK, covering the maternity leave of the appointed manager.  Reporting to Director of Corporate Affairs and Citizenship, and part of Corporate Affairs & Citizenship team I worked alongside five other CR specialists.

Key Achievements

  • Led 15 strong cross-company virtual team on environmental responsibility to co-ordinate a the subsidiary’s environmental sustainability strategy and plan;
  • Analysed results from the company’s first ever carbon footprint with The Carbon Trust, and created an operational carbon reduction plan for the sub;
  • Created the first Microsoft UK Environment external website & intranet for staff encompassing all the local messaging and proof points for MS UK’s environmental story;
  • Worked with the Consulting Services team to develop a green IT consulting framework (in collaboration with Gartner Group);
  • Created a series of media events, including round table debates with the Guardian and Total Politics Magazine to promote the company’s environmental strategy and leadership position;
  • Worked in collaboration with the Enterprise and Partner Group to deliver a localised product strategy in the smart metering market;
  • Worked with the Carbon Trust on a series of strategic partnership programmes including carbon footprinting Microsoft Office and the Digital by Choice distribution programme
  • Created best practice programmes to use Microsoft’s own Unified Communications technologies to reduce business travel and drive down the corporate footprint;
  • Created a UK Policy Framework (including representing Microsoft on all government consultations on the Carbon Reduction Commitment and the Low Carbon Economy Strategy) and spearheading a government and elites outreach programme on Sustainability issues;
  • Wrote and gained Board sign off for the FY10 Business and Marketing Plan which mapped the Environmental Sustainability in the context of Microsoft broader UK Citizenship programme;
  • Worked with Procurement on integrating sustainability into the Vendor Code of Conduct and reviewing MS UK’s supply chain requirements.

Key Outcomes

  • The UK subsidiary’s Environmental Sustainability Programme was recognised as Global Best Practice by the Chief Sustainability Officer Rob Bernard at Microsoft Corp. Key aspects of the UK’s modus operandi was adopted company wide for all Tier 1 subsidiaries
  • Internally, the UK subsidiary became ahead of its target to reduce its energy consumption footprint by 10% and business travel footprint by 20% that year due to the Carbon Management programme already rolled out
  • Business in the Community actively encouraged Microsoft UK to enter Climate Change Awards for the work undertaken in the organisation in that year