Why sustainability is everybody’s business

September 8, 2021 | 4 minute read
Jon Chorley
CSO and Group VP, SCM Strategy
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I’ve been impressed in recent months by the tremendous increase in number of inquiries we’ve been seeing about sustainability. And they’re coming from people in every area of the business, from manufacturing and product design to planning, logistics and more. At Oracle, our goal is always to make sustainability an intrinsic part of all those conversations -- with customers, customer advisory boards, and with the people who are creating our products. We believe sustainability should be a key ingredient of what makes up excellence in each product area.

How do you measure sustainability? Just a few years ago, that was hard to do. There were really no objective ways to measure your performance when it came to sustainability. But that’s changed with the advent of standards like SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board), GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), the GDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), and the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). These work in tandem with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, which embraces a broad spectrum of, economic, and environmental goals. All of these standards and goals help us understand the targets we should shoot for if we want to transform our economy into a sustainable one.

Understanding your supply chain

When you try to gauge the sustainability of your business, you need to go back into your supply chain and understand:

  • Where are my materials coming from and what is the nature of those materials?
  • How do you move materials around and how efficient is that?
  • What kind of packaging do you use and can you reduce it?
  • What are your manufacturing processes and how efficient are they?
  • Are you making the best use of your transportation assets?

Sustainability also requires you to start thinking about products at the end of their lifecycle. It challenges you to figure out how to bring them back into your supply chain – or a partner’s supply chain -- in an end to end and circular way.

Making smart manufacturing greener

Many of us had heard of the phrase smart manufacturing. We usually think of as adding IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, and other technologies into traditional production processes. But we should also add sustainability to the idea of what makes up smart manufacturing.

Think about the power of IoT and how it lets you reach into the real world and monitor it in real time. Combining this real time information with powerful analytics gives you the insights you need to make smart decisions. And those decisions help you drive sustainability by eliminating waste, making your supply chain more efficient, and monitoring your equipment to make sure it’s performing properly at an optimal level.

Increasingly sustainability is becoming a requirement of your business as you deal with your customers, your regulatory environment, and society as a whole. Today, if your business is not innovating inside that framework, you’re going to struggle.

Celebrating sustainability

At Oracle, we’ve celebrated all of the sustainability initiatives our customers have driven using Oracle technology and other technologies. We have customers in the food packaging industry, for example, whose goal is to decarbonize the entire supply chain. In the industrial manufacturing sector, Alcar Ruote, which makes steel wheels for automakers, is looking at ways it can can use less and cleaner energy in their manufacturing process.

We’re working with Unilever, maker of some of the world’s best-known consumer brands, to help them transport their products more efficiently to reduce CO2 emissions. In the food industry, Oracle is helping LiDestri improve its planning processes to cut inventory and waste. And in San Jose, Calif., we’re working with the city to help its transportation and waste management services become more efficient, and to strengthen connections with citizens. San Jose is now on its way to becoming a true “smart city.”

Oracle is committed to building sustainability into its own operations. It has consistently driven down water usage and energy consumption, and last year collected roughly 2.5 million pounds of retired hardware assets. By 2025, Oracle expects 100% of its key suppliers to have an environmental program in place by 2025.

The catchphrase we like to use at Oracle is: “Sustainability is everybody’s business.” And that’s the way you need to look at sustainability. You need to embed it in how you live, the products you build, how you use them, and how you engage with your suppliers and business partners. All of these are keys to building a sustainable supply chain and indeed a sustainable enterprise.  

To dig deeper into sustainability, smart manufacturing, and the future of supply chain, watch the Oracle Cloud SCM Virtual Summit.

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Jon Chorley

CSO and Group VP, SCM Strategy


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