Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Oracle Sponsors UNEP Environmental Forum in Nairobi

Guest author Rich Kroes, Sustainability Product Strategy Director at Oracle, discusses his participation in the recent United Nations Environment Program Forum in Nairobi

Oracle was pleased to sponsor and participate in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum (GC/GMEF) held in Nairobi on February 20-22. The forum brought together environment ministers, permanent secretaries, cabinet officials and other senior opinion formers from over 140 countries to discuss the latest issues on the global environment, particularly in relation to sustainability and climate change. The ministerial consultations during the session also focused on how to drive and support the emerging positions and policy issues following the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on sustainable development held in Brazil last summer.

UNEP understands the value that technological innovation and the development of sustainability solutions brings to bear in terms of addressing the diverse challenges faced by the world’s environment. The organization also understands that the private sector plays a critical role in the development of a broad array of these solutions, hence hosting the Sustainability Innovation Expo at the event to foster the sharing of technological knowledge and discuss future opportunities.

A session on the UNEP-Live program also highlighted the importance of measurement in tracking major environmental developments and events, as well as identifying emerging issues in the global environment. Measurement ultimately forms the basis for and provides the means to deliver lasting and meaningful improvement in the state of the world’s environment – this is a key cornerstone for Oracle's sustainability solutions as well.

Wednesday Mar 13, 2013

Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE): An IT Recycling Metric For Enterprises And Data Centers

Guest author Steve Stawarz, Principal Solutions Consultant and Sustainability Lead at Oracle discusses a new white paper offered by the Green Grid

I had the privilege to be a contributing author to the newly released Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) Metric White Paper, an offering from The Green Grid. The Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) metric is the first universal metric launched by The Green Grid to help end users of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) measure their success in the responsible management of outdated equipment. EDE is a simple metric that helps organizations calculate and measure their progress in improving equipment disposal processes over time. This metric is a first-of-its-kind and will help ensure companies responsibly handle electronics and electrical equipment at the end of its useful life. 

The Green Grid Association (TGG) is a non-profit, open industry consortium of end users, policy makers, technology providers, facility architects, and utility companies that works to improve the resource efficiency of information technology and data centers throughout the world. Over the past few years, TGG has developed a series of metrics for use in evaluating and enhancing data center operations. This series includes power usage effectiveness (PUE™), data center energy productivity (DCeP™), energy reuse effectiveness (ERE™), data center compute efficiency (DCcE™), and others. The Green Grid now proposes a new metric—electronics disposal efficiency (EDE)—to increase industry awareness regarding the responsible disposal of IT assets. By providing a simple metric that is easy to use, The Green Grid believes that organizations will be able to measure themselves and set goals to improve how they dispose of IT assets. The EDE metric complements the data center maturity model (DCMM), which contains clear goals and direction for improving energy efficiency and sustainability throughout a data center.

Click here for a copy of the whitepaper.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Agrion Summit: An Energy Agenda Focused on Market Opportunities and Strategic Investment

By Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Manager, Oracle

On February 19th and 20th, 2013 Agrion, a global business network for energy, cleantech and corporate sustainability, held its annual energy and sustainability summit in New York. Business leaders came together to exchange experience and expertise in order to advance the conversation on energy and sustainability. I was at the summit along with 400 other participants. We heard from experts in the renewable energy, smart cities, smart grid, corporate sustainability and energy efficiency fields.

In the sustainability track, speakers from various companies discussed their sustainability programs in terms of ROI of corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, materiality, relations with the investor’s community, and sustainable supply chains. Some of my key take-aways included:

  • It is imperative for practitioners in the sustainability space to build a business case with their CFOs to continue pushing forward their sustainability agenda within their organizations. Activities and projects should be linked to financial and operational metrics and results.
  • While the proliferation of sustainability performance surveys from customers and vendors often generates confusion, it also indicates a significant cultural change. Sustainability is being further integrated into organizations’ business values and overall strategy and companies are being more transparent in what they are disclosing.
  • While organizations and thought leaders around the world are pushing for further integration of sustainability data – with financial information and for environmental and social factors to be considered as equal contributors to the value of a company – the disconnect on the financial markets and the investor relations (IR) team is still a blocking factor. In some companies the CSO office and IR office rarely communicate. However, analysts are increasingly looking at companies’ environmental practices and investors better understand how sustainability practices affect the value of the company and have a strong impact on risk.
  • Uniform regulation remains the missing element in the field and could be the final catalyst. Stock exchanges are now requiring or recommending companies to disclose environmental, social, and governance  data, but the implementation of this requirement requires a common action in the industry as this type of requirement can discourage companies that want to get listed.

Highlights from the energy track included keynote presentations by Richard Kauffman, Chair of Energy Policy and Finance Sub-Cabinet in the State of New York, and Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital. Both made the case for green banks, intended to provide low cost financing to clean energy projects, and the need for partnering within the private sector to foster investment in alternative energy. Low cost lending can substantially reduce the cost of a clean energy project, making it cost competitive with fossil fuel generation or close to cost competitive and thus requiring lower subsidies.

 Bradley Williams, VP of Industry Strategy at Oracle, spoke about the impact that the Microgrid will have on the energy industry from production to distribution, storage, billing and the connection to the grid, and the technology skills and assets required.

It was an interesting summit and the Oracle participants, myself included, enjoyed participating in these energy and sustainability discussions.  

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