Microsoft is being urged to limit its corporate travel to 2020 levels for good, to set an example that others can follow by using its videoconferencing tools to limit its impact on the environment.
The Just Use Teams campaign, launched by a group of climate activists and Microsoft customers, says the company has spoken about the urgent need to tackle climate change but remains among the top 10 corporate flyers globally, despite being the only one to own and operate a videoconferencing platform.
“Microsoft is such a loyal partner to the fossil-fuelled aviation industry, its employees have their own check-in lane at Seattle airport,” the campaigners note. “Before the pandemic, Microsoft’s business travel emitted more greenhouse gases than some entire countries.
“If Microsoft was to go back to emitting as much through business flights as before the pandemic, it would risk undermining the meaningful contributions its sustainability team, its partners and its customers make every day.
“Businesses and people all around the world look to Microsoft for thought leadership and practical solutions, and relying on offsets and advancements in jet fuels just isn’t good enough.”
The campaign is asking Microsoft employees to take action directly, leaving reviews on the company’s Glassdoor page asking their bosses to stick to using MS Teams. It argues that as well as the climate impact, a cut in corporate aviation would be a boost for employee welfare.
“Frequent business travel has been linked to burnout. Nearly a quarter of business travellers say they have to work more to make up for lost time while traveling,” it said.
Microsoft declined to comment on the campaign, but pointed to its broad commitment to be “carbon negative” by 2030. The companysaid in January last year that it would cut its total emissions by more than half by that date, and invest enough in carbon removal technology to more than cancel out the remaining emissions. By 2050, it hopes to capture all the carbon it has emitted since its founding in 1975.
The Just Use Teams campaign, however, said: “Offsets are deeply flawed, and sustainable aviation fuels are so expensive that the airline industry has consistently failed to meet its own targets for sustainable fuel use over the decades.
“If Microsoft wants to be a real climate leader, it must scrap all but the most necessary flights from its travel policy.”