Friday Feb 28, 2014

Sustainability Roundtable Recognized Oracle as SBER Outstanding Corporate Leader of 2013

Sustainability Roundtable, a leader in consulting on best practices in more sustainable business, recognized Oracle as the Sustainable Business & Enterprise Roundtable’s Outstanding Corporate Leader of 2013. Sustainability Roundtable (SR) recognized Oracle for this prestigious award due its leadership in developing and driving optimization efforts towards more sustainable real estate and operations globally. They recognized Oracle for its efforts in:

 This past year, sustainability highlights within the Oracle organization include:

  • Implementation of a facility-wide, Environmental Accounting and Reporting (EA&R) module to reduce Oracle's environmental impact and comply with associated regulations
  • Oracle’s newest Utah Compute Facility (UCF), one of the most energy efficient data centers in the industry, uses a very innovative and breakthrough cooling solution that combines cold outdoor air with free humidification from IT equipment waste heat, xeriscape landscaping which nearly eliminates the need for irrigation, and a 20% reduction of the copper needed for power cables by employing higher voltage power

They also recognized Oracle’s setting of ambitious goals through 2016. These goals include a 10% reduction in energy use per employee, a 6% improvement in power usage effectiveness in production data centers, a 15% reduction in potable water use per employee, and a 15% reduction in waste to landfill per employee.

Monday Feb 17, 2014

Silicon Valley Energy and Sustainability Summit on Friday June 13 at Oracle HQ Conference Center

Oracle will again host the Silicon Valley Energy and Sustainability Summit at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood Shores, California on Friday June 13. This summit brings together more than 300 business, nonprofit, and public sector leaders to share best practices, lessons learned and practical solutions in applying new technologies and practices to address energy and environmental sustainability. This is a great opportunity to meet with your peers and discuss what you can do on a practical level to prepare for a changing landscape and learn how you can employ the latest technologies and practices to create value and build resiliency in your business.

The event will feature a C-suite forum as well as case studies and presentations on best practices in business resiliency, water and energy efficiency, renewable energy, with a special focus on the smart technology and big data revolution. You will hear from different companies across a range of industries presenting various case studies. Case studies are now being collected until March 28. Case studies can include campus projects, customer case studies, or best practices in energy and water efficiency, distributed generation, supply chains, smart grid technologies and ICT applications for environmental sustainability and energy security.  To submit a case study, please send a short (one page or less) description of the case study to Francesca Wahl (fwahl@svlg.org) with the heading "ESS14 Case Study" by March 28.

Sunday Feb 09, 2014

Paris Lodron Universität Decreases Carbon Footprint by 75% and Energy Consumption by 50%

Back in October, I wrote a blog about Oracle’s Eco-Enterprise Innovation Award with a summary of the award winners who use Oracle products to help with their environmental initiatives. Throughout this year, I’ll be providing more details around these award winners and how they’ve been able to both reduce their environmental footprint as well as improve their operational efficiencies using green business practices. Nominations are now open for the 2014 Oracle Eco-Enterprise Innovation award.

One of our 2013 award winners is the University of Salzburg, one of Austria’s major universities. More than 18,000 students are enrolled in its classes, and the university employs approximately 2,700 staff members. University of Salzburg reduced its carbon footprint from 96 tons to roughly 25 tons per year by migrating a large number of hardware components, software platforms, and service-related processes to Oracle Engineered Systems. They were able to deliver extreme performance by deploying Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud with preconfigured, pretuned, and pretested database servers, storage servers, and network connections, decreasing their total cost of ownership by 30%. The University of Salzburg reduced its energy consumption by 50% in less than 12 months—including the energy used by cooling systems—by consolidating multiple servers into Oracle Engineered Systems stacks.

Florin Guma, their CIO stated “We aim to be an example for our students in protecting the environment with more sustainable processes, such as more efficient cooling of data centers or better print management. Oracle helped us achieve all of our sustainability goals—75% lower carbon footprint, 50% less energy consumption, and 20% less paper use. It empowers us to set higher targets in the future, while providing 10x better performance at a 30% lower total cost of ownership.” Read more about their story here.

Wednesday Jan 08, 2014

Trends of Sustainability Reporting Policies Worldwide

By Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Manager, Oracle

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) recently released the third edition of the Carrots & Sticks publication, which analyzes the growing number of national and international reporting policies from around the world. In the seven years of the series, the amount of policy and regulation has markedly increased. This includes a notable increase in the number of mandatory reporting measures. In 2006, 58 percent of policies were mandatory; now, more than two thirds (72 percent) of the 180 policies in the 45 reviewed countries are mandatory. All policies and guidance included in this publication are either governmental or market regulatory requirements and voluntary initiatives for the public disclosure of sustainability information; CSR initiatives requiring or providing guidance for sustainability reporting or other forms of public disclosure; or requirements or recommendations covering a single topic (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions) or sector (e.g., mining), provided the disclosure has to be public.

The analysis shows an increasing emphasis on a combination of complementary voluntary and mandatory approaches to organizational disclosure. The gradual integration of organizational performance data is on the rise, with attempts to combine corporate governance, financial and sustainability reporting. Their research shows the highest number of reporters per country is in the USA, followed by Japan, South Africa, China, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Korea, and a number of other EU Member States.

Going forward, it is likely that more governments will issue sustainability reporting policies. Report readerships will grow, and the discussion of sustainability data – including around its credibility – will continue to increase. This enhanced participation of report users will occur partly due to improvements in the user-friendliness of sustainability reports, utilizing XBRL and other reporting innovations. Reports will increasingly focus on sustainability issues that are material for stakeholders and investors, thereby providing the most accurate and relevant view of organizations’ sustainability performance and impacts.

Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting supports these needs and provides consistency across organizations in how data is collected, retained, controlled, consolidated and used in calculating and reporting emissions inventory. EA&R also enables companies to develop an enterprise-wide data view that includes all five of the key sustainability categories: carbon emissions, energy, water, materials and waste. The report is available for download on the GRI website.


Monday Oct 28, 2013

The Grenelle II Act In France: A Milestone Towards Integrated Reporting

By Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Manager, Oracle

In July of 2010, France took a significant step towards mandating integrated sustainability and financial reporting for all large companies with a new law called Grenelle II. Article 225 of Grenelle II requires that many listed companies on the French stock exchanges incorporate information on the social and environmental consequences of their activities into their annual reports, as well as their societal commitments for sustainable development. The decree that implements Article 225 of Grenelle II was passed in April 2012.

Grenelle II is the strongest governmental mandate yet in support of sustainability reporting. The law defines the phase-in process, with large listed companies expected to comply in their 2012 reports and smaller companies expected to comply with their 2014 annual reports. This extra-financial information will have to be embedded in the annual management report, approved by the Board of Directors, verified by a third-party body and given to the annual general meeting. The subjects that must be reported on are grouped into Environmental, Social, and Governance categories.

Oracle solutions can help organizations integrate financial and sustainability reporting and provide a more accurate and auditable approach to collecting, consolidating, and reporting such environmental, social, and economic metrics. Through Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management Sustainability Starter Kit organizations can collect environmental, social and governance data and collect and consolidate corporate sustainability reporting data from multiple systems and business units.

For more information about these solutions please contact elena.avesani@oracle.com.

Tuesday Oct 22, 2013

Winners of the Oracle Excellence Award—Eco-Enterprise Innovation

Did you get a chance to attend Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco? With 60,000 attendees and hundreds of sessions to choose from—there was a lot going on. One of my favorite sessions was the Eco-Enterprise Awards and Sustainability Executive Panel Discussion. During this session, Jeff Henley, Oracle Chairman of the Board, announced the winners of the 2013 Oracle Excellence Award—Eco-Enterprise Innovation. It was an enlightening session as we heard several of the winning customers discuss the importance of sustainability to their company and how they’re using various Oracle products to help with their sustainability initiatives. The winning customers include: Centennial Coal, Indaver nv, Korea Enterprise Data, National Guard Health Affairs, Schneider National, SThree, Telstra International Group, Trex Company, University of Salzburg, Walmart, and Yeoncheon County Office. Stay tuned for additional blogs where you’ll learn more about these winning companies’ environmental best practices and why they won this award.

Several partners were also recognized for helping these customers with their sustainability initiatives. Those partners include: CSS International, Daesang Information Technology, i4BI, Infosys, Knowledge Global, Solutions for Retails Brands Limited, and SysGen.

During this same session, Jeff Henley also awarded Robert Kaplan, Director of Sustainability at Walmart, with Oracle’s Chief Sustainability Officer of the Year award. Robert was honored for helping improve Walmart’s supply chain efficiency with their Sustainability Hub. The Sustainability Hub, powered by Oracle Service Cloud, is a central location for Walmart suppliers, associates and business partners to learn, connect, inspire and drive sustainability through collaboration. While at Oracle OpenWorld, I also got a chance to hear Robert Kaplan discuss their Sustainability Hub during an Oracle OpenWorld Live taping.


Friday Aug 16, 2013

Environmental Legislation in the United Kingdom

By Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Manager, Oracle

As part of my ongoing efforts to discuss upcoming environmental legislation – I’m now going to focus on the latest changes occurring in the United Kingdom. Starting on October 1, 2013 the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013 will require all United Kingdom quoted companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their annual Directors’ Report. Companies will be required to report on their scope one and two greenhouse gas emissions, including the six primary Kyoto gases and converted to a CO2 equivalent. Initially this requirement will only affect 1,100 incorporated companies listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, a European Economic Area market or whose shares are dealing on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. The new regulations will then be reviewed in 2015 and ministers will decide whether to extend the approach to all large companies starting in 2016.

Companies that are covered by the regulations need to ensure they have a robust data management and reporting framework that covers the GHGs that will need to be reported; and the full scope of their organization based on the emissions they are responsible for. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued guidance on how companies should report their greenhouse gas emissions. The document outlines the benefit of reporting – lower energy consumption and resource costs, better understanding of exposure to the risk of climate change and brand recognition – and recommends the use of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to effectively manage environmental data. Although there is no prescribed methodology under the regulations, companies are recommended to use robust and accepted methods, such the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting supports these needs and provides consistency across organizations in how data is collected, retained, controlled, consolidated and used in calculating and reporting emissions inventory. EA&R also enables companies to develop an enterprise-wide data view that includes all five of the key sustainability categories: carbon emissions, energy, water, materials and waste.

Monday Jun 03, 2013

Intelligent Efficiency White Paper: Innovations Reshaping the Energy Efficiency Market

I recently read a white paper by Stephen Lacey from Greentech Media that I think you may find interesting. He talks about “intelligent efficiency” from an energy perspective. What is “intelligent efficiency” you ask? Stephen discusses the many significant advances in web-based monitoring, real-time data analytics, and utilities using peak pricing and how energy efficiency is now becoming an asset that companies can measure, manage, buy and sell. He talks about an emerging, information-driven approach to energy efficiency. Companies can get more granular information and are empowered to turn energy from a cost into an asset. This new paradigm is labeled “intelligent efficiency.”

While Stephen admits that information is not the only solution to breaking down all energy efficiency barriers, he notes that less expensive sensors are enabling the granular monitoring of every piece of equipment in a facility; web-based monitoring platforms are making energy consumption actionable; and analytic capabilities are allowing companies to find and predict trends. This intelligence is turning energy efficiency from a static, reactive process into a dynamic, proactive strategy.

Historically, energy efficiency was a one-dimensional process that involved replacing discrete pieces of equipment. But with instant communications and comprehensive analytical capabilities, efficiency is becoming an ongoing process – one that is connecting energy management, storage, distributed renewables, and traditional efficiency sectors to create a dynamic market. It is also enhancing project performance as real-time monitoring allows for ongoing adjustment and verification across facilities. You can read the white paper in its entirety here.  

Wednesday May 01, 2013

The Carbon Disclosure Project Spring Workshop

Guest author Elena Avesani, Principal Product Strategy Director at Oracle, discusses her participation in the recent CDP Spring Workshop at the New York Stock Exchange

On April 5, 2013 the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent non-profit U.K. organization that collects Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data of major corporations, invited corporations and investor signatories to attend its annual spring workshop at the New York Stock Exchange. I was one of Oracle’s three attendees and was able to attend many informational sessions led by the CDP staff, including a review of the 2013 CDP questionnaire and scoring methodology, the technical changes from 2012 and an overview of disclosure best practices. I also attended several thought leadership sessions.

Several participating companies explained how they leverage CDP disclosure to work with their CFOs to identify cost savings, develop innovative sustainability initiatives, respond to other regulatory bodies (DJSI, GRI, UNGC) and respond promptly to investors’ inquiries. Several speakers highlighted how speaking the same language as their CFO is crucial to integrate CDP responses into an effective communication with investors. Every year investors are increasingly interested on companies’ ESG performance and integrate CDP data into investment processes. Asset management companies look at governance strategy and engage companies to understand if they are aligned to their long term interests. They also look at data in the context of financial information and narrative. CDP thus provides a detailed framework to talk about climate change and disclosure on carbon, water and supply chain management. The nature of these issues shed light on how the company is managed in the long term.

Particular focus was given to strategies for measuring, managing and reporting Scope3 emissions, whose weight is increasing in the CDP scoring process. Scope3 analysis requires a strong understanding of the upstream supply chain as well as the definition of a directional roadmap identifying raw materials, operations and products, procurement strategies, production strategies and logistics assessment. 

Finally, the CDP pushes companies to engage suppliers on climate change and water risks through disclosure to the CDP Supply Chain Module. This disclosure enables companies to understand how to score and benchmark suppliers’ responses and educate suppliers on climate change and costs reduction. Category managers can check CDP scorecards and verify the performance of the company. It was helpful for Oracle to participate in this conference as we continue to gather our data to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Monday Apr 08, 2013

Korean Air, Winner of 2012 Oracle Excellence Award, Showcases Its Sustainability Success

Are you employing Oracle products for any of your sustainability initiatives? If you are an Oracle customer with a sustainability story to showcase – don’t miss the chance to nominate your company for the 2013 Oracle Excellence Award: Eco-Enterprise Innovation. Nominations are due June 21. 

One of our award winners last year was Korean Air. Korean Air is South Korea’s airline and its largest carrier. They used a combination of Oracle products to help them meet their environmental sustainability goals, such as reducing paper use, fuel consumption, aircraft noise, and carbon emissions from passenger and cargo transport. Korean Air was able to cut its catering costs by US$2.56 million per year and minimized food wastage, by creating route-specific menus based on accurate passenger numbers and regional demand. It also established an aircraft fuel management system that helped reduce its fuel consumption by 5%, based on revised laws and procedures about fuel allowances and ground-based auxiliary power units. In addition, Korean Air was able to save US$60,000 annually on paper costs and 165,000 sheets of paper per year by establishing a digital library and generating electronic airline tickets and other documents.

Read more about Korean Air’s award-winning story.

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.  

Thursday Feb 21, 2013

The Case for Corporate Sustainability Gets Stronger

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

Much has changed in the world of corporate sustainability over the past year. Organizations have started to take action when it comes to implementing processes around sustainability, and as a result we are beginning to see profit from these efforts.

According to the latest edition of an annual survey of global executives by the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group corporate sustainability has become more embedded in business decisions and now defines company culture and corporate reputation. Significantly, the findings from the survey show:

  • Nearly 50% of companies have changed their business models as a result of sustainability opportunities - a 20% jump from last year
  • The portion of respondents reporting profit from sustainability went up 23%, to 37% in total
  • Two-thirds of respondents said that innovation advantage – identifying better solutions early – is the way to profit from sustainability
  • 61% of companies that have changed their business model and have sustainability as a permanent fixture on their management agenda say they have added profit for sustainability
  • Improved brand reputation was the number one benefit to organizations in addressing sustainability (40%)
  • 52% of organizations named customer preference for sustainable products as the number one reason that led to changes in their business model
  • 62% of the respondents report that their company’s CEO has a strong commitment to sustainability

While all of these findings are extremely important and telling on the state of corporate sustainability, there are a few points to highlight.

Organizations noted that the number one challenge in the next two years is innovating to achieve competitive differentiation. Identifying sustainability-driven innovation early will be critical to success. An innovation advantage was the most common response (67%) among organizations when asked where they see profit from sustainability.

Additionally, we expect the percentage of companies that have changed their business models as a result of sustainability to keep climbing. At Oracle, we understand the importance of ensuring there is an integrated approach to sustainability at the core of all business activities. Put simply, it is ineffective to treat sustainability as a separate functional area.

We are focused on delivering solutions that allow our customers to embed sustainability throughout their organizations and to achieve their sustainability initiatives so they too can be part of this exciting strategic opportunity.

Tuesday Feb 19, 2013

Now Available: 2012 Corporate Citizenship Report – Sustainability Highlights

In the recently released 2012 Corporate Citizenship Report we are proud to highlight our efforts to minimize Oracle's environmental impact and the work we do to help our customers do the same. The sustainability portion of this report addresses how Oracle technology helps companies better execute and measure their own sustainability initiatives. Oracle provides sustainability solutions that can be easily integrated with our customers' core business activities. These solutions cover an unmatched breadth and depth of capability, and we are continuing to invest and innovate.

Highlights:

·         Oracle develops practices and products that help protect the environment. Our database, middleware, applications, server, and storage technologies help our customers meet their sustainability goals, while providing bottom-line benefits.

·         Oracle's energy efficient data centers have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers. Many Oracle products are used within our data centers.

·         Oracle’s technology is built on open and public industry standards, and Oracle engineers drive innovation by participating in 119 standards-setting organizations. Open interfaces, documented specifications, and standards-based development tools lower IT costs, while providing increased choice, interoperability, and flexibility.

The technology industry is critical to global progress and prosperity. We are committed to using our resources to protect the environment, meet regulatory compliance requirements, and employ socially responsible business practices in our operations.

If you would like to share feedback with us, please contact us at citizenship_ww@oracle.com.

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