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Company Visit to Microsoft

Recap of SBC's visit to Microsoft Finland

· Sustainability,Helsinki

This week we have visited Microsoft’s office in Keilaniemi, Espoo, to talk about sustainability at Microsoft.

The visit began with a company tour over Microsoft’s premises. We were surprised by how Microsoft’s workplace is very different from what we could imagine. Microsoft in Finland is a flexible office - nobody has their own desk or cabinet, the building is full of different kind of open working areas where employees can rotate as they like. Personal stuff is kept in lockers and Microsoft encourages its workers to use less stuff and less printing. In the office there are also common kitchens, phone booths, meeting rooms, play area for kids and a library.

As can be expected, Microsoft employees have digitalised their work to a great extent - tools include, for instance, very intensive use of Skype and shared calendars. Microsoft’s office in Helsinki is certified by WWF and is already very sustainable. Its design helped removed hierarchy and encouraged collaboration among employees. What’s especially interesting is that employees don’t have to go to the office - they can work from anywhere. Employees are encouraged to bike to work or use public transport (for which they are reimbursed by the company) and certain heavy emissions cars are not allowed.

The visit continued with a presentation by Stella Diesen, Sustainability Lead at Microsoft Finland. Stella explained, that Microsoft truly believes that IT can solve many sustainability problems which is why the company is working with industries to provide IT solutions for optimized usage of spaces. Microsoft’s biggest internal sustainability concerns are related to maintaining data centers and office buildings. Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, USA, host 45 000 employees, so the company has introduced automation and big data solutions to make their main campus’s energy usage more sustainable.

Sustainability is taken by Microsoft really seriously. The company is doing its best to do due sustainability reporting, make its offices sustainable and develop IT solutions for a more sustainable world. Each department of the company has to report CO2 emissions and if those are too high, pay a carbon fee that then goes to the company’s carbon fund to be used as an investment in some green initiatives. In the future, the company plans to be fully powered by renewable energy.

We thank Drazen Dodik, Anastasia Kuznetsova, Denis Cepun and Stella Diesen for welcoming us at Microsoft.

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