Reporting on Progress: Our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals

November 3, 2022 | 6 minute read
Elena Avesani
Head of Global Sustainability Strategy
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After reading The Sustainable Development Goals Report of 2022, I had to take a moment to grasp its conclusions. The report revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has erased four years of progress in the fight against poverty, and rising global temperatures have led to more heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and floods. However, the report also highlights the power of collective commitment and concerted action, strengthening larger organizations' role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

With the 27th session of the UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27) just around the corner – this year hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh from 6 to 18 November – it is fitting to reflect on how we are putting our thoughts into action. This year's vision is "to move from negotiations and planning to implementation." To turn the tide, we need a collective commitment from all parties to the Paris Agreement. The change starts with ourselves, and at Oracle, we strive to align with the Sustainable Development Goals and inspire people to be part of the solution. 

Addressing our social impacts and responsibilities:

Through the Oracle Giving and Oracle Volunteering programs, we help organizations provide nourishing meals and address food insecurity to those in need, especially in times of emergency or hardship, working toward zero hunger. Oracle Volunteers also regularly host food drives, sort donations, and distribute food to the community.

Through our technology and philanthropy, Oracle is helping to fight disease and ensure healthy lives for all. To further advance good health and well-being, we've partnered with organizations like the Center for Disease Control and Tony Blair Institute to manage large-scale vaccination programs, contain diseases, and save lives. We also support a variety of organizations providing essential health and wellness services. Bay Area Cancer Connections helps anyone affected by breast or ovarian cancer with personalized services. George Mark Children's House focuses on quality of life and continuity of care for children with illnesses that modern healthcare cannot yet cure or for those who have chronic medical conditions. Riders for Health Nigeria provides reliable transport for healthcare workers. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we unwaveringly supported thousands of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. In India, we funded organizations specifically focused on providing pandemic-related relief and emergency support ranging from food and medical kit distribution to vaccination drives. 

We are acutely aware we have a role to play in ensuring inclusive and equitable education. Our education initiatives—Oracle Academy and Oracle Education Foundation—are helping students and educators develop the skills they need to become technology innovators and leaders. We also support nonprofit organizations and education institutions promoting science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) education, particularly among students from underrepresented communities. 

Oracle's Silicon Valley campus is home to a pioneering public charter school—Design Tech High School (d.tech)—whose students play an active role in shaping the world. While d.tech is autonomous, it's supported by Oracle Volunteers and Oracle Real Estate and Facilities year-round.

To advance gender equality and empower women of all ages in our company and the communities we serve daily, we fund organizations like Black Girls Code and Technovation to empower the next generation of female technologists and foster a workplace focused on developing women leaders throughout the company. 

To round out our commitment to society, our technology enables sustainable innovations that help make communities safe, resilient, and sustainable. We fund nonprofit organizations focused on advancing climate resiliency and increasing public green spaces for all. With 99 percent of the world's urban population breathing in polluted air, building sustainable cities and communities is one of the most urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy. Oracle Green Teams are launching an initiative, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, focusing on clean air and air quality in the different regions around the world where we operate and how individual action can enhance local air quality. I couldn't be prouder of the work of our 47 Green Teams worldwide. What started as a grass-roots initiative amongst an autonomous group of employees that shared an affinity for the environment is now a global employee engagement program. 

Addressing our environmental impacts and responsibilities:

Some good news about the 2022 SDGs report is that global renewable energy consumption increased by a quarter between 2010 and 2019 – even though the total share of renewables in final energy consumption is still only 17.7% (page 14). 

Sustainability is at the heart of our business operations—from managing our use of natural resources to ensuring responsible supply chain practices and building a more circular economy. Our approach to energy management includes a commitment to maximize efficiency and increase renewable energy use across our operations, and we have committed to powering our global operations entirely with renewable energy by 2025. 

Our ambitions don't stop there. As a company, we joined the Exponential Roadmap Initiative in 2021, an accredited partner of the UN Race to Zero, declaring our commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions (across all scopes) by 2050. To keep ourselves accountable, we have set a target to halve our emissions by 2030.

Alongside our focus on renewable energy, clean water and sanitation are a top priority for Oracle. We leverage water-saving strategies across our facilities and data centers, including rainwater harvesting, xeriscape gardening, and condensate reclamation. Our 2025 sustainability goals include a commitment to achieve a 33% reduction in potable water use per square foot across our facilities. 

In addition, Oracle is committed to protecting life below water through philanthropy. A prime example of this commitment is our longtime support of Pristine Seas, a National Geographic initiative that identifies, surveys, protects, and restores the last wild places in the ocean. To date, the team's work has helped create 25 marine reserves spanning more than 6.5 million square kilometers. This allows biodiversity to flourish and will help protect species from extinction. We also fund The Marine Mammal Center's Global Response Initiative, which rescues and rehabilitates entangled whales, seals, and sea lions, and The Nature Conservancy's work to restore kelp forest ecosystems in California. 

The Oracle Volunteering program also teams up with organizations like Ocean Conservancy to ensure marine debris is kept out of local waterways and oceans in communities worldwide. 

On land, the pandemic is a daily reminder that we must collectively do a better job preserving our ecosystems. Oracle has supported the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (Fossey Fund) and its protection of gorillas and their habitat for more than three decades through a combination of cash and technology. We also support National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative to protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species, as well as Save the Redwoods League's Redwoods Rising program to restore more than 70,000 acres of degraded redwood forest across California. Local to our offices, we fund organizations such as California State Parks Foundation and Keep Austin Beautiful, which engage Oracle Volunteers as stewards of the natural world. 

Addressing our economic impacts and responsibilities:

Even more critical than before, Oracle promotes sustainable economic growth through our partnerships and philanthropy. We manage programs and scholarships to support an inclusive workforce. Additionally, we fund organizations like JINCJuma Ventures, and The Prince's Trust, which provide youth with job training and skill building. 

Oracle is committed to reducing inequalities in the communities we serve every day. Our commitments help address social and economic inequities globally, including pandemic-related relief for underserved populations in India. Or in Johannesburg, South Africa, where we help change lives at Ponelopele Secondary School, low-income teens can learn, grow, and thrive. 

We also strive to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Oracle's robust waste management program includes recycling and composting at our offices and raising employee awareness about responsible waste disposal. Oracle’s Hardware Take Back and Recycling program program helps Oracle customers dispose of retired equipment in a secure, environmentally responsible, and regulatory-compliant manner. 99.9 percent of our retired hardware collected in FY22 was reused or recycled. Last year, Oracle grantee Wecyclers—a Nigeria-based social enterprise—recycled 2,400 tons of plastic and 500 tons of aluminum and sachets—preventing the release of 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Our technology helps researchers and universities innovate for impact. We partner with companies to enhance scientific research and support industry, innovation, and infrastructure development. Furthermore, Oracle Cloud data centers deliver a sustainable computing platform that is efficient, renewable, and aligned with the circular economy

To conclude

As we head towards Sharm El-Sheikh the message clear: “Addressing the climate crisis requires bold and rapid collective action”. Oracle is committed to embedding sustainability across our enterprise and delivering innovative cloud technology to accelerate meaningful change. This means we cover sustainability from the outside-in and the inside-out perspective, by making ourselves and our technologies more sustainable, and developing the tools for our stakeholders to do the same, so we can all be part of the solution and reconfirm our commitments to the Paris Agreement and the UN SDGs.

Elena Avesani

Head of Global Sustainability Strategy

Elena Avesani is the Global Head of Sustainability Strategy at Oracle. Since 2009, she has driven Oracle’s sustainability programs and pioneered technology solutions to address social and environmental challenges. Elena was listed in the Top 100 Women in Sustainability by Sustainability Magazine in 2022. In her 24 years at Oracle. she has worked in product management and consulting, designing and implementing enterprise application solutions. Elena holds a master’s degree in International and Public Affairs from Columbia University, New York, and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Politecnico of Milan, Italy.


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