Sustainable Progress in the Corporate World

By Jon Chorley, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of SCM Product Strategy, Oracle

At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha in November 2012, the consensus was that it’s time to take action.

In his address to environmental ministers and climate officials from nearly 200 countries, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon summed it up by stating that “the abnormal is the new normal” and he highlighted events such as the flooding in Manhattan and Beijing, to the ice caps melting, permafrost thawing and sea levels rising.

But another aspect of this “new normal” is that business and the market are responding to the challenge. The green economy for example, which can be measured by looking at green jobs, green markets and investment in green industries, is showing genuine signs of momentum.  An article from Steven Cohen, Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute, in the Huffington Post does a great job of capturing the progress made.

There are also signs that businesses are increasing their commitment to sustainability. A new report by Calvert Investments, Ceres and World Wildlife Fund demonstrates the dramatic progress that has been made over last three years. The report, “Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy,” showed that a majority of Fortune 100 companies have set a renewable energy commitment, a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction commitment or both. Additional findings included:

  • 56% of Fortune 100 and Global 100 companies have set GHG reduction goals.
  • Of those, 13% have set specific goals for renewable energy use, with others using renewable energy to meet their GHG goals.
  • Many companies are shifting from purchasing short-term, temporary Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to longer-term investment strategies like Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and on-site projects, indicating a long-term commitment to renewable energy and reaping the benefits of reduced price volatility.

And of course technology will play a critical role in helping businesses act on sustainability goals and objectives. That’s why we continue to expand our sustainability solutions at Oracle and why we recently introduced a waste management solution for the Oracle E-Business Suite. Waste management issues are becoming an increasingly crucial part of environmental sustainability and we see it as one more way Oracle is helping businesses hit sustainability goals. It’s exciting to be part of the progress being made in the green economy and sustainability and we are looking forward to continuing that work this year.

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