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Oracle’s “No Plan B” Makes It Clear: Earth Needs Saving and Many Are Trying
June 30, 2022 News


Written by: Martin Dale Bolima, Tech Journlaist, AOPG.

Oracle is all-in on sustainability—as are its partners and customers all around the world. And it intends to do so by using its world-leading data capabilities to empower companies and consumers for informed, good-for-the-planet decision-making and sustainability tracking.

This pursuit is in line with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, which counts clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production as among the 17 goals that will transform the world for the better.

“At Oracle, we are proud of the work we have done and the work we continue to do in conjunction with our customers and partners to drive human progress and make a better world for all of us to live in,” said Jay Tuseth, Vice President, Cloud Applications at Oracle ASEAN, in an exclusive virtual media brief for Oracle. “We believe that’s an admirable and worthy goal and it is a business imperative that organisations drive sustainability as part of their business strategy.”

Southeast Asia: The Primary Battleground in Sustainability

Defined by the UN as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs,” sustainability is a vital issue around the world. But it is particularly critical here in the Southeast Asian region, which Tuseth describes as “The primary battleground for sustainability issues worldwide.” The reason being is that the ASEAN region is home to an estimated 20% of the world’s plant, animal and marine species even though it covers a measly 3% of Earth’s surface. The rainforests in Southeast Asia, in fact, have sometimes been called “The lungs of the world,” so failure to make sustainability inroads in the region can cause considerable global net damage.

Unfortunately, Southeast Asia is plagued by massive environmental challenges, the most notable of which are:

  • A ~60% projected increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • A ~56% projected increase in global mismanaged plastic waste.
  • An estimated ~86% of wastewater is left untreated (lowest in the world).
  • An estimated ~85% of primary energy supply comes from non-renewable sources.
  • A ~2% annual rate of deforestation (highest of any major tropical region globally).

These environmental challenges, to be clear, are an issue anywhere in the world, and it is imperative that they be addressed sooner rather than later. And that begs the question: What can be done?

No Planet B

Oracle recently conducted a study to better understand the issues surrounding sustainability, as well as the sentiments of businesses and consumers on said issues. The study, aptly titled “No Planet B,” aimed to explore how businesses and technology can help the world and promote sustainability. It surveyed 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 different countries—with a “heavy emphasis” on Southeast Asia and Asia, according to Tuseth—and uncovered three overriding themes:

  1. There is widespread consternation among the respondents stemming from the lack of progress towards sustainability.
  2. Many want businesses to take concrete action towards sustainability.
  3. Many believe that technology can help businesses in saving the world.

“In the Asia-Pacific region, 95% of people believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever. So, we took this broad, diverse group of people, and nearly all of them feel the same way,” said Tuseth. “This has really accelerated over the last 24 months with the global pandemic and the impact that’s had on people’s lives and their attitudes… The events of the last two years have caused them to change their actions and perceptions around sustainability.”

Other pertinent findings from “No Planet B” include the following:

  • 75% are dismayed by the lack of progress by businesses, and 91% believe businesses should be doing more than just talking about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
  • 94% believe not enough progress has been made. 40% attribute it to people being too busy with other priorities, 43% think it is due to businesses emphasising short-term profits over long-term benefits and 37% believe that people are just too lazy or selfish to help save Earth.
  • 50% think businesses can make more meaningful changes on sustainability and social factors than individuals or governments alone.

Technology for Sustainability

Meaningful change, in this case, is more likely to happen with the help of technology, with 84% of worldwide respondents believing in Artificial Intelligence as a key enabler of sustainability.

On the other hand, 61% believe bots (and machines) will succeed where humans have failed in terms of corporate sustainability. The expectation, evidently, is that bots and machines will prove better in making ESG- and sustainability-related decisions and in driving better outcomes in the process. The logic for this human distrust is the widespread belief that human bias and emotion generally distract people from their end goal—sustainability in this case—whilst bots and machines are free from such predispositions.

On the contrary, bots are perceived as largely data-driven—and far more accurate than humans. This is why more businesses, according to Tuseth, would “trust bots over humans in making sustainability-related decisions” because “bots are more effective in collecting data without entering errors, and they make very rational decisions.”

None of the world’s finest technologies, however, will make a difference in sustainability if not guided and tracked by data, whose importance in saving the world has largely been underplayed. But data is crucial in the pursuit to save the world, and it can be the difference-maker moving forward.

“All this ties back to data. The way that we as a society can leverage data and our success in doing so is really going to drive our success relative to sustainability, and people know and understand that,” explained Tuseth. “92% believe that sustainability and ESG are a critical part of success for their organisation but they know there are challenges around it because they are unable to have accessible data to help them drive better decision making.”

Oracle: Leading Change with the World’s Leading Data Technologies

Ultimately, a multitude of technologies will help humans address the many environmental challenges the world is facing now and moving forward. And for Oracle, that means utilising its best-in-class technologies related to data.

“Oracle is the most successful data company in the world—40 years of leading the way when it comes to database technology, cloud technology and the ability to address business applications and business requirements that help drive specific key outcomes for our customers, including around sustainability,” said Tuseth.

Specifically, Oracle helps shape organisations into sustainable ones, first by assessing the organisation’s current reality and then identifying its “to be” state (where it likes to be vis-à-vis sustainability). Only then can the organisation leverage existing technologies to drive its sustainability and ESG initiatives forward.

It all sounds so simple. The reality is, that it is anything but simple. At the very least, though, more and more companies are taking the challenge of sustainability head-on, and Oracle is among those at the forefront.

How big of an impact these initiatives will make, only time will tell.