Though still trailing Google by a significant amount, Microsoft shows improvements in all three evaluation categories, the biggest improvement coming with its increased engagement in supporting clean energy policies, most significantly the extension of wind energy tax credits in the US.
Microsoft’s May 2012 commitment to become “Carbon Neutral” identifies several important steps to increase its renewable energy usage and decrease its global emissions, including the adoption of an internal carbon tax, which could become an important driver for renewable energy investment . However, Microsoft’s execution of its plans thus far lags well behind leaders such as Google and Wipro, who have sought to directly purchase renewable energy to power their operations. Microsoft instead has opted simply to pay for the right to say it is green by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets. Despite also holding significant cash reserves, Microsoft has also chosen not to follow Google’s lead by investing its private capital in renewable energy projects.
While Microsoft made important gains in policy advocacy leadership in this leaderboard, the company was assessed penalty points for its continued support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is leading efforts to undue renewable energy standards in many US States.
Microsoft's performance in detail: Download the company’s Scorecard here