Look For Us at Rio+20

Posted by Josh Henretig
Director, 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.

Microsoft has been an active participant at global climate summits since COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 and most recently participated at COP17 in Durban, South Africa. A sizable contingent from Microsoft, from Chief Environmental Strategist Rob Bernard to Orlando Ayala, Chairman of Emerging Markets, will travel to Brazil this week to participate in the summit. We will also be at some of the events leading up to the main event, like the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, which brings together private sector leaders and representatives from governments and UN entities to improve the scale and quality of corporate sustainability practices.

Technology has long been a catalyst for progress on key societal challenges around the world. Microsoft and its partners work closely with governments, organizations and citizens to serve communities and help them make a Real Impact for a Better Tomorrow in their communities, countries, and around the world.

To share what we’re up to at Rio+20, we’re rolling out a new website on Microsoft.com/environment that will showcase how Microsoft and our partners are delivering Real Impact for a Better -- Environment, Cities, Education & Skills:

  • Real Impact for a Better Environment: We see information technology (IT) as an important tool to help address the energy and climate challenges the world faces. Learn how Microsoft and our partners are working together to accelerate a low carbon future -- from meeting our commitment to carbon neutrality, to the work we’re doing with the European Environmental Agency’s Eye on Earth Network to provide a collaborative environment for hosting, sharing and discovering environmental data.
  • Real Impact for Better Cities: Microsoft and its partners are working with utilities, universities, governments, building management companies, and leaders in the IT industry to accelerate the development of energy management solutions for our growing cities. Learn how cloud computing and data management technologies offer new opportunities to address energy management issues on a new scale, one that is needed in a world of increasing energy and environmental constraints.
  • Real Impact for Better Education and Skills: Microsoft provides students, educators and adults with the technology and training needed to build skills for success in tomorrow’s workplace through skills development for youth and adult employment, applying ICT for better quality teaching and learning and supporting public-private partnerships and policy development. Learn how Microsoft is working with governments and non-government organizations to develop an ecosystem of tools and resources that educators need to impact the lives of their students in a meaningful way.

If you’re in Rio, swing by our booth at the UNEP Pavilion or look for Rob Bernard and me at the Corporate Sustainability Forum. We hope to see you there!

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