“The effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions is really about the legacy we want to leave our children and whether the business we are conducting is preparing them for the future to come – a future that will be marked by globalization and greater equity, artificial intelligence, and, most importantly, climate change. How we respond to these developments, shift our economies, and think about growth in a zero carbon world are fundamental questions we need to answer today.”
— Jon Chorley, chief sustainability officer and group vice president of product strategy for supply chain management applications at Oracle
With more than 400,000 corporate and public sector customers, Oracle has an extensive view into the growing demand for cloud services that help organizations decrease their carbon footprints. We recently spoke with Jon Chorley, Oracle’s chief sustainability officer and group vice president of product strategy for supply chain management applications, to learn what he is seeing in the move to embrace sustainable business practices, Oracle’s own efforts to combat climate change, and why it’s never been more important to take action.
“The needs of our customers, their interests, and the challenges they face vary,” says Chorley. “Across the board, we are seeing recognition that it’s important for businesses to plan how they can reduce emissions. For those in the energy sector, these efforts are fundamental. For others, they are opportunities to make planet-friendly choices about supply and product mix, the alignment of green ideals with investment policies, and other business decisions. All of these organizations are in different positions, but in my experience corporate America and the global business community gets it and is typically ahead of the political establishment when it comes to reducing emissions.”
Chorley notes that businesses are looking at climate change in a strategic way, weighing their customers’ expectations and responding accordingly. It’s a journey Oracle began more than 15 years ago and backs up with strong commitments today.
“We are a diverse company with significant real estate,” Chorley says. “We knew we needed to look at sustainability and our operations – and from that we’ve committed to achieving very specific goals, among them that all of our facilities will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025. We also signed the 2015 net zero goal with an intermediate target of 2030, and have many additional goals related to environmental programs.”
Notably, Oracle’s operations in Europe are already 100% powered by renewable sources, and it’s working closely with its partners and customers to help them decrease their carbon footprints. It’s an effort that aligns well with Oracle’s evolution into a services-oriented company that offers a full array of cloud services, among them the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, a platform that enables enterprises to quickly transpose their environments to the Oracle Cloud while still using the VMware technologies they trust.
“We are selling data center compute capacity and high-performance applications, but we also design and build our own equipment,” says Chorley. “We focus a lot on using the least amount of electricity and maximizing the level of computing power. Because we also deploy the hardware we make, run and maintain it, retire it, and ultimately recycle it, we can really view our cloud operations holistically and be mindful of every stage of the product lifecycle and its impact on the environment.”
Benefits for customers
For customers, there are numerous benefits, including the ability to better manage capacity, more powerful applications, and a more efficient software-defined infrastructure.
“Important programs like VMware Zero Carbon Committed underscore the opportunity tech companies have to make a difference,” he adds. “Sustainability is important to our employees and recruits. They take climate change seriously and want to work in companies that are taking action. We’re also seeing more interest among investors who are looking at a zero carbon economy. And of course we are seeing interest among customers. They want to know how our solutions can help them in their own sustainability efforts.”
It’s momentum Chorley is pleased to see, particularly since economic challenges often prompted companies to withdraw in the past. He believes things are different today and that the pandemic had the opposite effect.
“Some aspects of climate change are unavoidable,” says Chorley. “Rising sea levels will be an issue – how much will depend on how effectively we decrease our carbon footprints – but many of the challenges associated with the pandemic, such as supply chain issues and new ways of working, are a dry run for when climate change comes to bear. It also continues to demonstrate how important it is to cooperate globally, and that’s emblematic of why we need to work together to address environmental issues.”
Learn more about Oracle and its partnership with VMware here.