Friday, August 22, 2014

Microsoft Leaves Lobbying Group ALEC Amid Split Over Renewables

A Windows display at a Microsoft Corp. news conference ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 23, 2014. (Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg) Click to enlarge.
Microsoft Corp. has left the American Legislative Exchange Council because of concerns about the lobbying group's opposition to renewable energy, a coalition of activist investor groups said.

The Sustainability Group and Walden Asset Management, asset management companies that describe themselves as focused on sustainable investing, said Microsoft confirmed in e-mails that it's no longer a part of ALEC after the groups pressed the company to abandon it.

“Microsoft is a leader on carbon issues—in 2012, it committed to becoming carbon neutral, and is one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy,” the Boston-based groups said in a news release.  “Thus, we believe that its affiliation with ALEC, which is actively fighting policies that promote renewable energy, was incongruous.  In addition, there were numerous other ALEC actions that conflicted directly with Microsoft's values.”

Arlington, Va.-based ALEC has drafted model legislation for use in state legislatures to roll back renewable fuel standards across the country.  Its members include ExxonMobil Corp., Peabody Energy Inc., American Electric Power Co. and Koch Industries Inc., according to the Checks and Balances Project, a nonprofit watchdog group that supports the use of clean energy.

Microsoft Leaves Lobbying Group ALEC Amid Split Over Renewables

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