Microsoft's free carbon emissions calculator

Microsoft has launched a new tool set to help businesses assess their carbon footprint.

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Microsoft has launched a new toolset for its Dynamics AX enterprise resource management software that helps businesses assess their carbon footprint.

The free tool, called the Environmental Sustainability Dashboard, is aimed at helping small to medium-sized businesses figure out their environmental impact without having to pay for outside consultants, according to Microsoft.

The software covers four metrics: direct energy consumption, such as of usage of natural gas on site; indirect energy consumption, such as electricity purchased from a third party; greenhouse gas emissions from an organisation's total energy consumption; and greenhouse gas emissions from commuting and business travel.

The metrics are based on guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative, which develops ways to measure environmental sustainability.

Microsoft said the dashboard would let businesses choose good environmental practices as well as let them make adjustments to reduce exposure to fluctuating energy prices.

The dashboard has been designed to work with SharePoint, Microsoft's collaboration and portal software. Its components also integrate into so-called "role centers" in Dynamics, which are customized views used to manage different kinds of information for different jobs.