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Microsoft Touts Sustainability Achievements in New Citizenship Report

Microsoft has met its carbon neutrality commitment through internal efficiency projects, the purchase of more than 3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy and a carbon offset project portfolio representing more than 600,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the software company’s 2014 Citizenship Report.

The company also achieved its goal for all new data centers to have an average 1.125 Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), one-third less than the industry average datacenter PUE of 1.7.

On the human rights front, Microsoft instituted new privacy and data security measures, including expanding its use of encryption across services, providing choice and transparency on data location and strengthening legal protections for customers. The company fought for and won the right to increase its disclosure on the volume of national security orders for customer data that we receive from the U.S. government. The company also completed the Global Network Initiative (GNI) Phase III Assessment, conducted by an independent assessor, and the GNI Board determined that Microsoft is compliant with the GNI Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy.

Microsoft's total annual giving surpassed $1 billion for the first time, with cash donations of $119 million and in-kind donations worth $948.6 million, according to the report. The company also launched Office 365 for Nonprofits in 92 countries around the world, providing $55 million worth of Office 365 subscriptions to nearly 11,500 nonprofits globally.

In 2014, Microsoft completed 217 third-party audits and Microsoft assessments of 131 Tier 1 and high- and medium-risk Tier 2 hardware suppliers. In all instances of critical/serious nonconformance, the suppliers instituted corrective action plans that were approved by Microsoft, and follow-up audits confirmed that the suppliers were implementing the corrective action plans.

The company also expanded its work with hardware suppliers to build capabilities on environmental health and safety management and to improve factory workers' living environments. Microsoft began to screen its non-hardware suppliers against 23 different ethical, social, and environmental risks by country and by commodity category and to roll out new assurance requirements for the suppliers found to pose the highest risks.

In August, Microsoft announced that it is ending its relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public-policy lobbying group. The decision was made in response to ALEC's anti-renewables lobbying efforts, including measures to repeal renewable energy standards and block the disclosure of chemicals in fracking.

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