An interview with Jon Chorley, CSO & Group Vice President, SCM Project Strategy & PLM, Oracle
At Oracle, sustainability is everyone’s business. This is the latest installment in a series of articles where we chat with various executives whose teams support Oracle’s sustainability efforts. Today, Jon Chorley reflects on the past 10 years since Oracle established the Environmental Steering Committee.
Q: Jon, what is your function as Oracle’s Chief Sustainability Officer?
To be a specific focal point for all of Oracle’s environmental initiatives. As always, the real work gets done in the lines of business, but through my office and the executive-level Environmental Steering Committee that I chair, my role is to help instigate, coordinate, and support those initiatives across Oracle.
Q: How did Oracle’s Environmental Steering Committee come into existence?
In 2008, as the recognition of the importance of sustainability was growing in the market, we convened a meeting with a broad set of our stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, government agencies, and the community to determine our strategy. We concluded that for organizations such as Oracle to be successful in becoming more sustainable, it is imperative that sustainable thinking is embedded into that organization and its supporting systems. We further concluded that there was no contradiction between being sustainable and being fiscally responsible, and indeed sustainable business is good business. All of this was quickly encapsulated into our mantra, “Sustainability Is Everyone’s Business.”
With the support of Oracle CEO Safra Catz, we formulated Oracle’s Environmental Policy and created the Environmental Steering Committee to coordinate these activities, and with that my role as Oracle’s Chief Sustainability Officer. In November 2008, we had our first annual cross-functional sustainability meeting and I am proud to say that on November 9, 2017, we will be holding our 10th annual meeting.
Q: Looking back over the past 10 years, how has the Environmental Steering Committee made a difference?
In my 20 years at Oracle, I can without reservation say that the Environmental Steering Committee does some of the most collaborative and cross-functional work anywhere at Oracle. We have stakeholders ranging from real estate and facilities to human resources to supply chain to IT to research and development. We have a results-oriented and value-driven focus to identify measures that will make Oracle a more sustainable organization.
Here are just some of our achievements over this period.
- Consistently improving Oracle’s performance on energy, emissions, water, and waste
- Setting goals for energy, water, and waste reduction, including an absolute science-based emissions reduction target and an increase in renewable energy use corporatewide
- Managing industry-leading energy efficiency in our data centers to deliver a more sustainable Oracle Cloud
- Responding to customer inquiries as part of RFPs, including the addition of the sustainability section in Oracle’s Corporate Citizenship Report
- Operating a successful hardware take-back program, both for our customers and for internal assets
- Managing a more sustainable supply chain by conducting audits through the Responsible Business Alliance (formerly the EICC) and establishing a statement on conflict minerals and sustainable procurement
- Creating and updating Oracle’s policies including the Supplier Code of Business Ethics and Conduct
- Mapping out a product strategy and sharing best practices, enabling our customers to be more sustainable
- Annually recognizing the achievements of our customers with the Oracle Excellence Award: Sustainability Innovation at Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco with Jeff Henley
- Using Oracle’s own solutions to enhance our sustainability performance, including Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting, and using our own energy-efficient engineered systems
- Hosting the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s (SVLG) Energy & Sustainability Summit at Oracle HQ since 2013
- Annually running Oracle OpenWorld as one of the world’s most sustainable events
- Being ranked #10 by Newsweek Top Green Companies in the United States and the CDP A List
These outcomes highlight the work of incredible people at Oracle applying sustainable thinking in their respective lines of business on an ongoing basis.
Q: What would you like to see Oracle focus on in the next 10 years in terms of environmental sustainability?
Sustainability is a journey, not a destination, so there will always be more to do. Nowhere is this truer than in our industry, which is dynamic, global, and highly competitive. We think it is important to align our sustainability initiatives to the underlying strategy of the company, as this creates the greatest possible impact. In sustainability jargon, such initiatives have “high materiality.” For Oracle, that means cloud.
Oracle Cloud provides enormous opportunities to drive sustainability in the coming years. Because we already operate our data centers far more efficiently than the industry norm, a transition of a customer to Oracle Cloud delivers an immediate environmental benefit. Because we control the entire lifecycle of the hardware, we can ensure far more effective recycling, reuse, and recovery. We can also drive an increase in the use of renewable energy in our data centers, which we do through our own procurement policies and Oracle’s membership of the data centers buyers group. It all constitutes a healthy feedback loop with positive environmental benefits.
With all of your help, I have every expectation that in the next 10 years we can deliver ever stronger and more impactful environmental and sustainability benefits.
Q: Where can I find out more?
Great places to start are www.oracle.com/citizenship, www.oracle.com/green, and my.oracle.com/go/engage. There are also other articles featuring sustainability-focused Q&As with Randy Smith, vice president of Oracle Global Real Estate and Facilities, Liz Snyder, VP, Oracle HR International, Karl Braitberg, senior vice president for Oracle Worldwide Systems Operations, Paul Salinger, vice president, Oracle Marketing, Laura Ipsen, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Troy Tazbaz, vice president of cloud operations; and Steve Lowrey, senior director of employee compute and automation.