Microsoft: Sustainability should be 'embedded'

CEO Steve Ballmer recently made clear in an e-mail to all employees that environmental sustainability is a corporate belief, says Redmond's chief environmental strategist.

Microsoft is increasing its environmental commitment, the company's chief environmental strategist said this week at the GreenNet conference in San Francisco.

Robert Bernard
Robert Bernard Microsoft

"Recently our CEO, Steve Ballmer, sent out an e-mail to all 90,000 Microsoft employees. He made clear that environmental sustainability is a core value for the company that is embedded in all we do," Robert Bernard said in an interview with CNET News. He added that Ballmer talked about the topic as a corporate belief, "as opposed to a green campaign or a marketing campaign or a marketing issue."

This could be good news for both the environment in general and laptop users in particular.

Computers running the Windows operating system have had problems with power hunger, most notably laptops, where battery life is said to have suffered. So power hungry, in fact, that PC manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard developed their own power management software, instead of the application shipped with the latest Windows Vista operating system.


Sustainable software
Chief Environmental Strategist Robert
Bernard talks with Erik Palm about
Microsoft's move toward more
energy-efficient products.

Download mp3 (4.07MB)

Microsoft's global market share in operating systems is almost 90 percent, and recent reports indicate that the global IT industry generates as much greenhouse gases as the aviation industry. So Microsoft's environmental footprint can be considered significant.

Microsoft is now promising lower power consumption in its next operating system, Windows 7, among other products.

"The real opportunity is when consumers see the results rather than actually having to notice them," Bernard said. "For example, when they buy or deploy a new version of Windows their energy consumption, and therefore their bills, will decrease over time."

About the author

    Erik Palm, a business reporter for Swedish national television, is joining CNET News as a spring 2009 fellow with Stanford University's Innovation Journalism program. When he's not working, he enjoys kayaking and exploring California's hiking trails. E-mail Erik.


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