By: Monica Mehta
Over the years, you’ve heard a lot about Oracle’s database, cloud solutions, and engineered systems. You have probably also heard about Oracle’s many strategic acquisitions, as well as stories about ORACLE TEAM USA, which won the most recent America’s Cup. But you may not know as much about its commitment to corporate citizenship, supporting efforts such as energy and water conservation, educational innovation, and even the protection of gorillas in the wild.
The recently released Oracle Corporate Citizenship Report sheds a much-needed spotlight on some of these programs. From the report, here are 10 things we’re betting you didn’t know about Oracle.
1. Oracle’s data centers are up to 66 percent more energy efficient than industry averages.
Oracle is consistently acknowledged as a leader in data center energy conservation. Oracle’s flagship data centers—the Utah Compute Facility and the Austin Data Center—have earned laurels from the US Environmental Protection Agency, and earned American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Technology Awards for their use of innovative energy-saving technologies such as airflow containment and evaporative cooling. For example, Oracle’s Utah Compute Facility houses a unique cooling system that uses outdoor air to cool the facility 90 percent of the year.
2. Annually, 2.2 million students in almost 100 countries benefit from Oracle’s education initiatives.
Students around the world are developing vital technology skills through Oracle’s educational programs. In FY13 and FY14, Oracle Academy granted nearly $5 billion in resources to support computer science education.
The nonprofit Oracle Education Foundation engages Oracle employees as volunteer instructors, coaching high school students through multiday projects that combine skill building with design challenges. Students learn coding and electrical engineering, then apply these skills to problem solving. The problem-solving approach is Design Thinking.
“Education has long been a major area of philanthropic investment for Oracle,” says Colleen Cassity, executive director of the Oracle Education Foundation and Oracle Giving and Volunteers, and editor of the Oracle Corporate Citizenship Report.
“We advance education through our own programs and by funding excellent nonprofit organizations globally that are doing great things in computer science, engineering, and mathematics, as well as environmental science education.”
“We focus on reducing energy use per employee, as well as total energy use, with particular focus on data-center energy reduction. We’ve done a good job of that,” says Oracle Chief Sustainability Officer Jon Chorley. “We’re also looking at our overall energy mix, including opportunities for local solar energy production.”
Indeed, Oracle has already made great strides managing its environmental footprint: between 2012 and 2013 the amount of waste going to landfill decreased by 10.5 percent and potable water use declined by 9.5 percent per employee. In that same period, Oracle decreased its Scope 1 emissions by 10 percent and Scope 2 emissions by 3 percent, despite a significant growth in its workforce and facilities portfolio.
The numbers are even more impressive viewed long-term: From 2000 to 2013, Oracle headquarters experienced a 25 percent decrease in energy use and 41 percent reduction in natural gas use.
“Each year, we report our Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project, and in 2014 we achieved a Disclosure score of 95, up from 61 in 2012,” says Cassity.
4. From June 2012 to June 2014, Oracle donated $21 million in cash to advance education, protect the environment, increase opportunity, and enrich community life.
More than 1,000 nonprofit organizations globally benefitted from Oracle giving, including hospital systems, educational programs, environmental groups, food banks, and more.
5. Oracle received a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Index.
Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertaining to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees. In the 2015 CEI report, Oracle earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
6. Oracle contributed more than $770,000 to disaster-relief efforts between June 2012 and June 2014.
Oracle matches employee donations to disaster relief dollar-for-dollar. Donations are channeled to one or two humanitarian organizations on the ground, such as the Red Cross.
For example, in 2013, Oracle’s contributions went to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, floods and landslides in North India, the earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, and the floods in Calgary and southern Alberta province in Canada.
7. Between June 2012 and June 2014, more than 36,000 Oracle employees in 56 countries donated more than 120,000 hours of their time to volunteering.
Oracle’s volunteer program has been in place for more than 24 years. In 2014, Oracle won the PR News CSR Award for Best Volunteer Program, recognizing Oracle employees’ commitment to community service.
“Oracle’s employees have executed more than 1,400 projects over the last two years with organizations focused on education, the environment, and community—and most of it is on their own time,” says Cassity. “It takes a lot of effort to do that, and folks don’t have to—they do it because they want to and because they care about the people, community, environment, and wildlife around them.”
That equals 144,965 items including computers, monitors, computer accessories, printers, and projectors. The Oracle Returns Management System enables the recycling or reuse of assets both internally and externally to enable cost reduction and ensure environmental compliance. The team also recycled nearly 72,000 batteries.
9. Oracle has funded the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International for more than 25 years.
There are only about 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International works to prevent their extinction and protect their habitat in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Oracle has provided substantial cash grants and in-kind donations for more than a quarter of a century to support their monitoring, research, and educational efforts.
In 2014, Oracle increased its cash grant to help the organization develop a custom application that enables field workers to record data on iOS devices instead of using pencil and paper. That data management system is hosted in the cloud, enabling scientists and researchers around the world to benefit from the data.
Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison has also had a personal stake in the organization, serving as a trustee for a number of years. “It is rare to find a corporate giving program funding a nonprofit for more than 25 years and doing so with little or no fanfare, yet this is the case with Oracle,” says Clare Richardson, president emeritus and strategic initiatives officer of the fund.
10. Seventy-one tons of paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, and plastic are recycled at Oracle headquarters annually.
Recycling is a priority throughout Oracle: the carpeting at its North America facilities consists of 54 percent recycled content—equaling 228,649 pounds—and 100 percent of the copy paper purchased and used includes certified postconsumer recycled content.
This is just a sampling of how Oracle uses its resources to advance education, protect the environment, and enrich community life. For more information, read the full report.