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Microsoft Called Out For Frequent Flying, Should Have ‘Just Used Teams’
By Alexa Heah, 14 Oct 2021
Image via ID 176267769 © Boggy | Dreamstime.com
Microsoft users and climate activists all over the globe have come together under ‘#JustUseTeams’, a movement hoping to get the tech giant to cut down on its corporate flights, and just use its very own Microsoft Teams software to telecommunicate instead.
Jaweria Baig, an 18-year-old Pakistani activist, recently wrote an open letter to the company’s Global Director of Travel, Eric Bailey; and Chief Environmental Officer, Lucas Joppa; to share her thoughts on what she feels are excessive business trips.
“I’ve never taken a flight. Yet every day I live with the consequences of a plant overheated by the greenhouse gas emissions from flights. I’ve felt the threat of climate change since I was a child, with my family home in the Hunza Valley, northern Pakistan, threatened by melting glaciers and deadly heatwaves as temperatures have risen,” she wrote.
According to the Air Transport Action Group, activists such as Baig have good reason to urge corporations to turn towards telecommuting. In 2019, air travel produced 915 million tonnes of CO2 worldwide, accounting for nearly 2% of all human CO2 emissions.
The #JustUseTeams initiative wants Microsoft to keep its business-related travel to 2020 levels, when most of the world was grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Baig said: “It doesn’t have to be this way. During the pandemic, we all learned new ways of living, working and studying. Many of us turned to video conferencing, using tools like Microsoft’s own Teams platform to connect virtually.”
“You showed that it’s still possible to do business without taking so many flights, meaning many of your flights were actually pointless.”
According to Mashable, while the founders of the movement are aware of Microsoft’s sustainability efforts—such as its mission to become carbon negative by 2030—they feel that continuing unnecessary corporate travel would undo the good of its environmentally-friendly projects.
“We don’t have time, it’s do or die at this point. Hopefully, if they take this step, they will inspire other big corporate flights buyers as well as people to make a change,” Baig told the site.
“I have said this earlier and I will say it again — if a big company like Microsoft takes a step like this, others will definitely follow them.”
However, with Teams facing an impending investigation from antitrust regulators in Europe, it may not be the best bet for Microsoft employees to reduce their carbon footprint.
[via Mashable, cover image via ID 176267769 © Boggy | Dreamstime.com]
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