What is the carbon footprint of a typical corporate laptop?

Did you know that a typical corporate laptop has the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions as an airplane flight from Stockholm – Madrid or Seattle – Chicago, basically about a 4-hour flight. In the worst cases for even brand new computer models it will be the equivalent of a roundtrip flight London – New York!

The good thing is that you can make better choices based on the carbon footprint and significantly reduce climate impact and improve sustainability within your organization.

Let’s look at the numbers

It is really interesting to see that the carbon foot print differs drastically between vendors and even models. Let’s proceed and take a look at some of the most common corporate laptops and how much CO2 foot print they have.

So what about the 2020 range of most popular corporate laptops?

It seems that this year’s launch of corporate laptops does not point in the right direction, with one exception and that is Microsoft. In general Microsoft is top of class when it comes to a sustainable line of devices for IT. Their carbon footprint is significantly smaller than the other vendors in the corporate sector.

Note: Don’t miss the 2021 fall update on some new and fresh numbers.

A look from my personal view

This is a summary of the latest machines I’ve been using (and am using) for myself recently. As my own business device at Coligo I am now using a Surface Pro X but used to have a Lenovo X1 Yoga before that. The Dell and HP are machines I have been and am using from customers. To be honest, I had no idea about the fact the Surface Pro X is among the best in class devices when it comes to carbon emissions.


To summarize, as you can see there is a huge difference between vendors and even models. This means that you can make a significant impact by choosing your devices in a climate smart way!

Please note that the figures above are estimates and not exact by any means as there are many factors that play a part here, for instance where in the world the devices are shipped to or how clean the electricity is which also varies a lot between countries. However, it gives you a pretty good overview and highlights huge differences which is the important thing here.

I think one of the reasons Microsoft is performing really good is the internal carbon tax they have had for a few years, which leads to all parts of the organization to minimize the carbon footprint.

Sources: The vendors published documents of their CO2 footprint, see this post for all links, CO2 footprint for corporate devices – all links you need! The carbon emissions for the example flights are obtained after calculation by the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator.

A modern workplace architect and advisor who has been a Microsoft MVP for 15 years, now combining all my passions from work and personal hobbies and believes; The IT workplace, traveling and climate smart options and actions. On a mission to spread the knowledge and help make more climate smart choices when it comes to IT!