Posted by Rob BernardChief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft
Over the weekend, we participated in the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum, the main private sector convening forum at Rio+20. The forum kicked off on Friday with a video message and welcome from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he declared that “corporate sustainability is an idea whose time has come.”
We certainly agree with that statement, which is why Microsoft announced as part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy For All initiative that we are committing to increase our purchase of renewable energy and set specific energy efficiency targets by June 2013, when our fiscal year 2013 comes to an end. Microsoft’s new internal carbon fee will help accelerate our investments in renewable energy, which will include signing long-term renewable power purchase agreements, investing in new renewable energy projects and connecting data centers directly to innovative energy sources, such as methane-powered fuel cells for data centers and other energy-intensive infrastructure.
Posted by Karen JonesVice President & Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal, Microsoft
Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had reached the statutory cap for H-1B specialty occupation petitions for fiscal year 2013, giving us a stark reminder of the continuing obstacles created by our country’s current framework for high skilled immigration.
This comes at a time when the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the unemployment rate for computer and math occupations at just 3.5 percent – reflecting the growing shortage of U.S. workers with these skills. Reaching the annual allotment of H-1B visas only 10 weeks after the application filing period opened disrupts U.S. business and stifles growth at a critical time in our nation’s economic recovery by shutting down the hiring of global talent for the next 10 months.
Posted by Samantha DoerrPublic Affairs Manager, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
In order to effectively solve difficult societal problems, we must first understand them. With the belief that research can open the door to effective interventions in the fight against modern day slavery, in December the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit and Microsoft Research partnered to release a request for proposals from the academic community to better understand the intersection of technology and child sex trafficking.
Posted by Josh HenretigDirector, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20, will kick off this week from June 12 to June 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development from political and business leaders across the globe. More than 100 heads of state and over 60,000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, which would make it the largest ever UN conference. The two major themes at Rio+20 are creating a green economy that allows for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and creating an institutional framework for sustainable development.
Delegates at Rio+20 will be looking for solutions that can help poor to rich countries to be able to move to a low carbon economy and adapt to the changing environment. Technology has an important role to play in supporting the shift toward a more sustainable economy, from helping cities achieve better energy efficiency to using cloud computing to scale access to environmental data with the Eye on Earth network. We believe that IT is a critical tool to addressing energy and climate challenges and that close collaboration between IT companies and political leaders is an important aspect of addressing climate change.
Posted by Brendon LynchChief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen privacy for consumers, Microsoft recently announced that the next version of Internet Explorer (IE 10) will include the Do-Not-Track (DNT) feature turned “on” by default.
There has been a lot of public debate about tracking users’ activities on the Internet, including for the purposes of targeted advertising. Although there definitely are important benefits from targeted ads, many people are not comfortable receiving them. For example, results of a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show 68 percent of respondents were “Not OK” with targeted advertising because they don’t like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed.