Microsoft’s Commitment to Addressing Climate Change

By Steve Lippman, Director of Corporate Citizenship at Microsoft

In the recent past, we’ve blogged about our software donation program, a program that provides free software licenses to any eligible nonprofit organization. To keep things simple our eligibility guidelines track to the same criteria that the US government and other governments around the world use in deciding who is a nonprofit.

This kind of broad program – which provided $844 million in software to 40,000 organizations last year – inevitably means that from time to time we end up providing software to some group that holds policy positions different than our own. That’s because the goal of the program is to support a vibrant and healthy non-profit community, not a particular issue or point of view.

Until now, we’ve talked about this issue mostly in general terms. But a recent controversy over climate change denial advertising by a nonprofit that received software licenses under our program are prompting us to be a little more specific.

Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions to reduce our own impact as well as the impact of our products.  In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to address climate change.

The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.

Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations.  It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions. 

Again, our software donation program does not support or endorse any particular nonprofit or any particular policy views -- it supports giving all nonprofits in the world access to free software.

To learn more about Microsoft’s climate change policy statement and sustainability efforts, please visit our website.

Comments (7)
  1. Chris Yonker, Wayland, MI says:

    Microsoft calls Heartland's billboard likening those who believe in climate change to mass murderers "inflammatory and distasteful," but continues to defend its software donation. Microsoft should make an exception to their rule, and exclude Heartland from any future support.

  2. Bill Vosti says:

    It's clear that the Heartland Institute does not represent the values and morals of what we typically think a non-profit should have. Microsoft's software donation program sounds like a great program but it should be allowed to make exception when one of it's beneficiaries is beyond reason.

  3. john639 says:

    Sorry, we simply aren't buying this whitewash!   Microsoft is quite capable to make decisions based on integrity and whats good for this planet!  Supporting Heartland who is posting propaganda across this nation while trying to teach our children ANTI-SCIENCE is simply outrageous!

    But somehow Microsoft simply hasn't the ability to stop supporting Heartland??  Who is buying into this lie??

  4. suze45 says:

    I think Microsoft is playing both sides of the fence.  I find it hard to believe Microsoft is incapable of editing its donor list.

  5. Craig says:

    The official Microsoft response to this comes across as completely disingenuous. The Heartland Institute may be a nonprofit in name but its motives in spreading disinformation for political reasons are well known. If Microsoft continues to donate to Heartland after this event, it basically says they they have Microsofts tacit approval for their tactics – regardless of how much Microsoft publicly declares otherwise.

  6. bill says:

    Wait, is this true. Microsoft says that believe in Global Warming but they support the biggest org. that is responsible for spreading  global warming denialism propaganda and Anti-Science?

    So the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation withdraws support from this Institution but Microsoft refuses to?        Exactly who do they think is buying this?

  7. Kif says:

    Hi Steve,

    I'm glad I read your post.  It's good to know that MS don't have the same view but none the less, and like it or not you are guilty by association.  If you were to give your software away to say "The United White Knights" a not for profit organisation that are part of the KKK, do you honestly feel that would be a good thing for MS?  Would it send a positive message about your views on race relations do you think?  How do you think people would perceive MS regardless of your own corporate ideology?  

    While it is commendable that MS is generous with its software program, and I hope it continues to be so, you will have to take steps to know who you are giving it too.  For a company the size of MS to be ignorant of its beneficiaries is not really an acceptable excuse.  If you truly wish to be a good corporate citizen with a vision and a mission you need to do more than just write it down and stick it on a door or on the front of your induction manuals.

    I have enjoyed using Win 7, I do believe it to be the best version yet and I look forward to seeing Win 8, it looks exciting.  I use a smart phone, tablet, laptop, Xbox 360 and PC and I use MS products on all of those.  However, I, in good conscience, won't purchase one more product from your company until such point you review your policy and remove your support for such a horrible, small minded, self-serving institute which are causing great harm to the cause of making a better world; a cause which you say is diametrically opposed to your own values and worse, are working to undermine the voices of the majority of scientists who are working for the good of society. Indeed the ignorance this supposed research institute peddle is reminiscent of darker days when the world was run by churches and truth, reason, knowledge and science were seen as heresy.  Is this what you want to be?

    equated with?  The day is coming when the majority of people will finally see the truth of the Heartland Institute, and those standing with them will rue that day despite good intentions.  

    I don't expect that my letter will make much difference to you.  I doubt that it will make you suddenly "see the light" or even cause you and great discomfort.  I can't imagine that not buying your products will make even the tiniest of blips in your P & L statements, but still I tried.  I wrote for what I believe in and will act accordingly.  I can only hope that you and others within your organisation might one day soon decide to do the same.


    Kif Saint

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