- In an effort to reduce waste, we have been introducing more recovered plastics to our portfolio, and most recently launched the Xbox Wireless Controller – Remix Special Edition made partly from reclaimed CDs, water jugs, and other controllers’ parts.
- With new features and settings being added to your console, we are finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our business and our players.
- Explore special edition Earth Day events and products.
Just days ahead of Earth Day, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the work that we are doing to protect our planet and share opportunities for our community to celebrate alongside us.
At Microsoft, we have set the commitments to operate as a carbon negative, water positive and zero waste company by 2030. Microsoft strives to empower the world to do more, and driving positive, transformational change requires thinking beyond traditional boundaries. Gaming provides an incredible platform to drive cultural change on a global scale and encourage players to explore, experiment, and connect with the world and with each other in new ways. Sustainability is a team sport—and we are excited to see how far we can go when everyone plays together.
An Update on our Sustainability Efforts
Last year, we shared an update on our sustainability efforts. Here is what we have been up to since:
The Xbox Wireless Controller – Remix Special Edition takes us one step further in our journey towards our zero-waste commitment, featuring recovered plastics with one-third of it made from regrind and reclaimed materials. By incorporating regrind materials, post-consumer recycled resins, and including the Xbox Rechargeable Battery Pack – Xbox is exploring ways to use less new plastic and reduce waste. Check out the unboxing video below to learn more!
More things we are doing to reduce the waste we create and use as a business, and help Microsoft achieve our goal of operating as a zero-waste business by 2030:
- We are increasingly finding new opportunities to incorporate recovered plastics into our controllers. We started with the Daystrike Camo and the Electric Volt controller and have been transitioning some of the controllers already in the market to contain more Post-Consumer Recycled resins (PCR), including our Shock Blue and Pulse Red controllers. Visit the Xbox Sustainability Hub to view a collection of controllers that contain 20% or more PCR content.
- Xbox Design Lab, our controller customization platform, launched with 15 new colors that contain Post-Consumer Recycled plastic. Since then, we have transitioned most of the color options offered on the platform to contain PCR.
- In the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland), we partnered with retail partner Elkjøp to launch the Urban Miner campaign, where we invited all Nordic households to collect old electronics in their households and return them to an Elkjøp store for recycling. In return, the consumers received Minecoins for use on the Minecraft Marketplace. The campaign resulted in more than 11,000 items returned, representing approximately 17 tons of electronic waste.
- Microsoft has eliminated the usage of polystyrene on new point-of-sale activation (POSA) cards (like gift cards) transitioning to paperboard across our partners. We have also changed the plastic bags in which we used to bundle our POSA cards to paper bands in most of our markets, which we expect will avoid the equivalent of over 2 million plastic bags over the next two fiscal years.
At Game Developer Conference (GDC) this year, we announced that Xbox is the first console to release dedicated energy and carbon emissions measurement tools designed for (and with) game creators. Using these tools, studios and game developers have found opportunities through game design to lower their carbon emissions without impacting the player experience. To learn more about the Xbox sustainability toolkit, watch the video below!
At Xbox, we hold ourselves accountable to the emissions created by our products in our players’ homes—here are some additional things we are doing to reduce those emissions.
- In January, we announced that Xbox is the first Carbon Aware console. When your console is plugged in, connected to the Internet and regional carbon intensity data is available, Xbox will schedule game, app, and OS updates for your console at specific times during the nightly maintenance window that may result in lower carbon emissions because a higher proportion of electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid.
- At the same time, we began experimenting with automatically updating consoles to the Shutdown (energy saving) power mode and are bringing these updates to more consoles throughout the year.
- We also provided the “Active Hours” option for those that want to use the more energy intensive Sleep power option. This allows players to select the hours that they want to use Sleep mode features like remote wake. The console will fully shutdown outside of those hours (using up to 20x less power when turned off vs. Sleep). Players can select for their console to automatically schedule their active hours, to configure a manual schedule, or to keep their console always active.
We are always looking for opportunities to partner with players, industry partners and external organizations to make gaming a better industry for the environment. To learn more about these partnerships, watch the video below:
- Minecraft Education and BBC Earth teamed up to create an exciting Frozen Planet II experience, with five Minecraft worlds inspired by the iconic series. Minecraft players can play as eight different animals, experiencing Earth’s cold habitats and learning about the impacts of climate change. Students in more than 110 countries have played the Frozen Planet II Minecraft worlds, and the maps have been downloaded by millions of players and are available in 29 languages, accompanied by educational resources for teachers and families.
- Schools Reinventing Cities has been developed by Minecraft Education and C40 Cities to give students around the world the opportunity to design climate solutions for their city and present their ideas to city leaders. In city-wide challenges, students learn about climate action in cities. They then build their climate solutions in Minecraft Education, a game-based learning platform used by millions of teachers and students that inspires creative, inclusive learning through play.
- Last year, Xbox had the opportunity to educate a wide range of audiences through learning events like the United Nation’s 50th anniversary congress on sustainability, and directly to valued partners in bespoke workshop events with external industry players.
- In May of 2022, for the first-ever time, we invited the public to experience a selection of the talks from Xfest 2022, one of which is ‘A Deeper Look at Gaming Sustainability and How Everyone Can Play Their Part’. This explores how game publishers can make an impact by integrating environmental themes in games, reducing emissions, and supporting the global environmental agenda in collaboration with Xbox.
- Xbox has continued our work as a founding member of the Playing for the Planet alliance. Playing for the Planet recently released the 2022 Annual Impact Report which reveals strong progress on decarbonization efforts across the industry.
Learn About Ocean Conservation on Twitch this Earth Day with Xbox Plays and the Seattle Aquarium
Please join Team Xbox on our Twitch livestream channel on April 22nd at 8:00am Pacific Time as the team shares a behind the scenes tour of the Seattle Aquarium, a conservation organization working to regenerate the health of our one ocean. You’ll meet special guests like Barney the harbor seal, get an inside look at the Aquarium’s work to save endangered species, and see a demonstration of a remotely operated vehicle steered via Xbox controller that is being used to research the depths of Puget Sound. Marine conservationists and experts will join us live to answer your questions about the species you’ll find in the Sound and beyond, as well as the steps you can take to help protect our world’s one ocean.
New Xbox Gear products features recycled content as well, check out the latest collection featuring colors and topographical lines pulled straight from the Xbox Wireless Controller — Remix Special Edition
Check out the latest Xbox Gear featuring colors and topographical lines pulled straight from the Xbox Wireless Controller – Remix Special Edition. This collection features a selection of premium, ECOLIFE cotton garments. The garments are made of 50% recycled yarn and 50% BCI (Better Cotton Initiative– the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton). The raw materials are cut & sewn in Los Angeles, garment dyed to match the special edition Xbox controllers, printed with eco-friendly inks and packaged with biodegradable poly bags. These ECOLIFE cotton garments are available as a t-shirt, pullover hoodie and sweat shorts.
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards: World Wildlife Fund, Water.org, and The Nature Conservancy
Microsoft Rewards members in the United States can earn and donate points to support select environmental organizations with Xbox. The below organizations will be featured on console throughout April:
- The Nature Conservancy – The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Their mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
- Additionally, for every two dollars that Microsoft Rewards donates in April, The Nature Conservancy will plant a tree as part of their Plant A Billion Trees program. Learn more about this program here and plant your tree today!
- Water.org – Every living thing requires water to survive and thrive. Yet 771 million people around the world don’t have access to safe water. Water.org is working to change this by empowering people living in poverty with lasting safe water solutions for their homes. Water.org is dedicated to increasing access to this critical resource that matters to our planet and everyone that lives on it.
- World Wildlife Fund – As the world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in nearly 100 countries. At every level, they collaborate with people around the world to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live. Their mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
Xbox players can earn Microsoft Rewards points in various ways, such as playing or purchasing games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox.
To learn more about our continued Sustainability Efforts at Xbox, visit the Xbox Sustainability Hub.
To explore more ways Microsoft is celebrating Earth Day, visit aka.ms/EarthDay.