As more companies strive for increased sustainability in their businesses, it’s become important for them to be not only aware of the externalities of their operations, such as the carbon emissions associated with their organization, but to also be accountable for them.
And while it may not be feasible for all of the company operations to get to carbon neutral through efficiency and clean energy choices alone, by using a form of carbon accounting and an internal carbon fee to fund carbon offsets or other green initiatives, businesses can help to mitigate the environmental effects of their own enterprise.
Microsoft is one company that is taking a leadership role in this area, as it has begun holding itself accountable for its own carbon emissions as a part of their sustainability initiatives, through the practice of putting an internal price on carbon and using those funds to subsidize their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency.
“A carbon fee model is an excellent way to provide both the financial framework and the formal discipline to drive efficiency projects. By applying a financial cost to the carbon impact of operational practices, it provides justification to prioritize efficiency—and therefore cost reductions—across the organization.” – Lee Mills, Sr. Finance Manager, Microsoft Corporation
In an effort to increase the awareness and practice of internal carbon pricing and carbon emissions accountability, Microsoft has released a guide, titled the “Carbon Fee Playbook”, which gives a comprehensive overview of their experiences in creating the carbon fee, as well as a process that can be followed and used by other companies to develop their own version of this sustainability practice.
“Microsoft’s carbon fee is an important expression of Microsoft’s commitment to corporate citizenship and working responsibly within our own business. We appreciate the positive reception it’s received from many of our stakeholders and colleagues in the field of corporate responsibility and hope that sharing our experience can help others adopt similar strategies in ways that work for their business.” – Steve Lippman, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft Corporation