Developing a Tech Strategy for Sustainability

Three key steps for preparing enterprise data for sustainability reporting

by John O’Rourke, May 2011

With several options to consider when it comes to collecting, aggregating, and reporting sustainability information and metrics, Oracle Vice President of Product Marketing John O’Rourke offers some considerations that should drive an organization’s technology strategy.

1. Determine the best practices in your industry or region. One example might be collecting energy usage data at the facility level in retail or financial services. Determine what your peers are doing in response to regulations and which high-return opportunities they are pursuing, such as reducing energy usage and carbon footprint in supply chains. Engage partners as needed.

2. Review current IT platforms and reporting tools. Look for opportunities to leverage existing investments, data, and processes to minimize incremental cost. For example, if you are already using Oracle Essbase or Oracle Hyperion Financial Management, these systems can be extended to support sustainability reporting.

3. Identify sources of necessary data. Examine current sources such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in the environmental health and safety department, but also identify whether data capture can be achieved via accounts payable processes or Web forms. Automating data capture can reduce time and effort and improve accuracy in sustainability reporting.

4. Understand data granularity demands. Determine whether a sensor-based approach, collecting data at the facility or department level, is justifiable, and which data frequency makes sense for operational versus enterprise-level usage. Fitness First collected weekly energy usage measures for internal reporting and analysis and then rolled up for external reporting on an annual basis.

5. Determine audience for reporting. Will the data be published internally, externally, or both? Data collected for external publishing and assurance will need stronger controls and processes to be in place to ensure accuracy and audit readiness.

For More Information
The Evolution of Enterprise Carbon and Energy Management Software
Oracle’s Solutions for Sustainability Reporting
Getting to Green


John O’Rourke is vice president of product marketing at Oracle.