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How sustainable is Microsoft ?

Microsoft & sustainability


Microsoft
First milestones, should be better Click here for score rapport: 8 out of 39

Sustainability summary

Microsoft (with electronics such as the Xbox) has achieved the D-label, which means that Microsoft has started to take sustainability into account. Still, a lot more can be done.

Brand owner: Microsoft Corporation
Head office: Redmond, WA, USA
Sector: Electronics
Categories : Smartphone, Laptop, notebook, Tablet, Game console
Free Tags: Surface, Gaming Console, Xbox, Accessories & Services

What's your sustainability news about Microsoft?

Microsoft sustainability score report

Last edited: 2 June 2016 by Berber
Last reviewed: 2 June 2016 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

1 out of 6
1. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to minimize, reduce or compensate carbon emissions? Microsoft implements several measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as creating more energy efficient products and the use of renewable energy (see link, page 58 & 69). Source
2. Has the brand (company) disclosed the annual absolute carbon footprint of its 'own operations' (Scope 1 & 2) and has the brand already reduced or compensated 10% of these emissions in the last 5 years? Microsoft increased its climate footprint (Scope 1&2) of own operations from 1.355 million tons of CO2e in FY13 to 1.606 million tons of CO2e in FY14. This represents an increase of around 18,5% (see link, page 66). Source
3. Has the brand (company) set a target to reduce its absolute ‘own operations’ carbon emissions by at least 20% within the next 5 years? Microsoft doesn´t communicate a target to reduce its actual total climate footprint. Source
4. Does the brand (company) publish the annual carbon footprint that also covers the major suppliers, and does the brand have an effective policy in place to reduce these carbon emissions? For FY14, Microsoft communicates an estimation of 8.000 millions tons of CO2e for its entire purchase volume. This represents an increase from previous year. Microsoft does not specify a clear policy how to reduce these emissions (see link, page 59-65). Source
5. Is at least 35% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? For FY14, Microsoft communicates a 100% renewable energy use for its electricity. But, only 23% were purchased directly or were generated on-site (77% RECs certified). Type, source and additionality of its renewable energy supply is generally not clear enough specified (see link, page 63). Source
6. Do all new products of the brand meet energy efficiency requirements such as Energy Star (where applicable)? Microsoft is not clear whether all new consumer products meet the requirements of standards such as 'Energy Star' (see link, page 60). Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

2 out of 19
1. Has the brand (company) eliminated PVC in all new products? Microsoft does not communicate its current status concerning elimination of PVC and BFR's from all its new products. Source
2. Has the brand (company) eliminated BFR's in all new products? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least 2 of the 3 groups of suspect chemicals (beryllium, antimony and phthalates) in all its new products already? Microsoft does not communicate its current status concerning elimination of at least 2 of the 3 groups of suspect chemicals (beryllium, antimony and phthalates) in all all its new products. Source
4. Has the brand (company) banned the use of benzene and n-hexane in the final assembly of products? Microsoft does not mention whether benzene and n-hexane is banned in the final assembly of products. Source
5. Has the brand (company) banned the use of benzene and n-hexane in the full production chains? Microsoft does not mention whether benzene and n-hexane is banned in the full production chain. Source
6. Does the brand (company) publish its annual material footprint, or alternatively material footprints for each sold product, and does the brand have an effective policy in place to reduce the overall environmental impact of material use? Microsoft implements several measures to improve its annual material footprint, but does not publish its respective footprint, or alternatively material footprints for each sold product. Microsoft only publishes a material footprint for some of its accessories and phones (including those products acquired by Nokia). Source
7. Does the brand offer the charger as optional to the product? Microsoft does not mention anything about offering the charger as optional to the products. Source
8. Does the brand (company) source at least 10% of its plastics from recycled plastic streams and does the give a timeline to increase this percentage to at least 25% by 2025 ? Microsoft mentions using recycled plastics in its products, but it is not clear what percentage of total plastic use this constitutes. Source
9. Does the brand (company) source at least 20% of its plastics from recycled plastic streams? See remark for environmental policy question 8. Source
10. Does the brand have clear objectives to minimize the environmental impact of packaging, by reducing, re-using and recycling, and does the brand annually report on these results? Microsoft implements several measures related to more sustainable packaging, but does not publish the annual packaging volumes/weights per material type (see link, page 53-62). Source
11. Has the brand (company) a take back program and is the take back recyling rate higher than 5% of the weight of the annually products sold? Microsoft offers several voluntary take-back and recycling programs, including incentives to bring used electronics to Microsoft Stores for recycling. But, the exact recycling rate isn't specified (see link, page 62). Source
12. Is the take back recyling rate higher than 10% of the weight of the annually products sold? See remark for environmental policy question 11. Source
13. Has the brand (company) an active policy in place to increase the product life-span of products, such as longer warranty periods or easy repair with easy ordering of spare parts? Microsoft implements measures to manage its products life-cycle, but no clear best practice examples concerning prolonging its products lifespan are specified. Source
14. Does the brand (company) use replaceable batteries in all portable devices? Microsoft does not mention if all its portable devices use replaceable batteries. Source
15. Does the brand (company) provide online repair manuals for all products? Online repair manuals for Microsoft products are provided via iFixit. Source
16. Does the brand (company) guarantee supply of spare parts and software updates for all products, for at least 3 years after end of production? Microsoft does not mention anything about the supply of spare parts or software updates after end of production. Source
17. Does the brand (company) give at least a 3 years warranty on all products? Microsoft products have a limited warranty period of between 90 days and 5 years. Therefore, not all products have a 3 or more year warranty. Source
18. Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint and is there a policy to minimize, reduce or compensate this footprint? Microsoft implements several measures related to its own operations water footprint, such as recycling. For FY14, Microsoft reports a water withdrawal of 3,003,173 m³, covering 65% of its facilities by square footage (see link, page 67). Source
19. Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint that also covers its most important suppliers? A water and/or land use footprint that also covers Microsoft's most important suppliers is not published yet. Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

5 out of 14
1. Does the brand (company) regularly publish an updated list of smelters that are identified in the own supply chain? Microsoft publishes a list of smelters, effective as of December 2015. Source
2. Does the brand (company) have a clear policy to only source from smelters that have passed the conflict-free audits, and has the brand already achieved this for at least one metal/mineral? Microsoft mentions that it is working towards the goal of responsible sourcing. However, by now neither tin, tungsten, tantalum nor gold can be considered as entirely conflict-free sourced yet (see link, page 3-19). Source
3. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 1 initiative that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Microsoft a member of the 'Conflict-Free Smelter Program' (CFSP) (see link, page 8). Source
4. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 2 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Microsoft participates in the 'Public-Private Alliance (PPA) for Responsible Minerals Trade' (see link, page 7). Source
5. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 3 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Microsoft also supports the 'ITRI Tin Mining Supply Chain Initiative' (iTSCi) (see link, page 7). Source
6. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 4 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Microsoft does not mention membership at any other endorsed initiatives. Source
7. Does the brand (company) have a Code of Conduct (CoC) for both its own factories and those of its suppliers, which includes the following standards: No forced or slave labor, no child labor, no discrimination of any kind and a safe and hygienic workplace? All standards are mentioned in Microsoft's supplier code of conduct (CoC) (see link). Also in its own operations CoC all these standards are covered (see link, next question). Source
8. Does the brand’s (company’s) CoC include at least 3 of the following workers rights: 1. a formally registered employment relationship 2. a maximum working week of 48 hours with voluntary paid overtime of 12 hours maximum 3. a sufficient living wage 4. form and join labor unions and bargain collectively; and in those situations where these rights are restricted under law, to develop parallel means? 1. Not mentioned; 2. No, maximum work week is set at 60 hours, but the maximum overtime hours are not specified; 3. No, wages must comply with applicable wage laws; 4. No, this right is mentioned but a parallel means in situations where these rights are restricted under law is not mentioned. The standards for its own operations are even weaker (formulated). Source
9. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? Microsoft provides a list of its top 100 supply chain partners. However, it remains unclear whether this list covers Microsoft's supplying production facilities to at least 90%. Source
10. Is the brand (company) a member of a multi stakeholder initiative (MSI), wherein independent NGO’s or labor unions are represented, that collectively aims to improve labor conditions and that carries out independent audits? Or does the brand (company) significantly purchase its supplies from factories certified by such MSI’s? Microsoft is a member of GeSI, but civil society organizations do not have a decisive voice in this initiative (see link, page 68). Source
11. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy? Are more than 95% of final manufacturing stage production facilities monitored for labour conditions? Microsoft publishes a detailed audit summary with follow up actions. Microsoft reports that 314 third-party audits, and 138 supplier assessments by Microsoft were completed in FY15. But, Microsoft does not specify which share of the total production volume is actually monitored (see link, page 48-53). Source
12. Are at least 25% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct? Microsoft does not specify, whether at least 25% of its final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries are compliant to its labour standards. Source
13. Are at least 50% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct? See remark for labor conditions policy question 12. Source
14. Are at least 50% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct - including a living wage? See remark for labor conditions policy question 12. Source