Oracle Folds Carbon, E-Waste Management Features Into Products

Oracle Folds Carbon, E-Waste Management Features Into Products

Image CC licensed by Flickr user BDegan

Colorado State University revealed last week it is using servers and other technologies from Oracle to reduce the environmental footprint of one of its residence halls.

The news follows two announcements from Oracle about features its has added to two products in a bid to make it easier for companies to manage their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and e-waste. The moves are part of Oracle's long-term goal of providing a common set of metrics and analytics across a range of sustainability data sources.

"They add to a broad set of capabilities that show up everywhere in our product lines, such as how we design products, how we manufacture products, how we deal with logistics and transportation, how we design logistics networks," said Jon Chorley, Oracle's vice president of supply chain execution and product life cycle management strategy.

"All of those are areas where we've made specific investments to help companies both reduce their environmental footprints and, more importantly, save money while doing it."

The hardware and software maker has added Sustainability Sensor Data Management to the Oracle Manufacturing Operations Center to allow for the tracking of environmental impacts, such as energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions. The product can be used on a standalone basis, or within Oracle's E-Business Suite.

Oracle also enhanced its Depot Repair product with new dashboards to help businesses reduce waste and process returned materials for reuse, refurbishment or recycling.

In a phone interview this week, Chorley described a multi-pronged approach to how Oracle is giving companies the ability to measure and manage data related to sustainability, which it views as a core competency.

"On some ends there are some specific capabilities that have a pure-play sustainability flavor," Chorley said. "At the other end, it's maybe just a modest amount of additional data you need to capture."

In terms of some of its energy and carbon management offerings, Chorley said there are capabilities Oracle is developing as tool kits within its Hyperion financial planning, budgeting and modeling system. The features give companies a high-level view of incoming data and allows them to model their environmental impacts.

Meanwhile, a vendor partnership has enabled Oracle to offer companies the ability to capture data at the accounts payable level. This allows users to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions or environmental impact from a specific purchase or bill through Oracle's E-Business and JD Edwards applications suites.

Oracle also offers capabilities within its governance, risk and compliance module that enables users to set, track and monitor policies implemented in their business.

Chorley characterized the market for carbon and energy management solutions as growing, while at the same time becoming more refined. Auditability, he said, is an important feature.

"I think energy is a key focus, hence our investment in sustainability data management, but it is growing and there a lot of reasons for that," Chorley said. "I think people are just seeing it as good business. Secondly, they may have invested in spreadsheet-based or niche solutions, and they're finding it very difficult to sustain."

In addition to employing a range of green building practices, Oracle has also put its hardware and software solutions to work in its operations, enabling the company to hold the line on its own energy use.

"In our own internal story, we were growing from an energy consumption perspective at double digits," Chorley said. "We've driven that down to pretty much flat and declining now. Secondly, we have driven down our percentage of spend on IT compared to our revenue. We've not done that by using less computing power."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user BDegan.