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Oracle EPM a Natural Fit for Sustainability Reporting

by Monica Mehta, August 2008
More than ever, companies want to demonstrate their commitment to creating a positive impact on the environment and their community. But the pressure to demonstrate good corporate citizenship is not only coming from investors, customers, and employees. Governments in Europe and Asia already mandate environmental restrictions and reporting—as in the case of carbon emissions—and the U.S. is moving toward such regulations as well.

 

A strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy can contribute to an enhanced brand value, improve a company’s reputation, attract capital from investors, and help avoid lawsuits and regulatory fines.

Traditionally, devoting part of a company’s mission to CSR was seen as taking away from the bottom line. New thinking, however, has brought about a more progressive approach—that of a “triple bottom line” of people, planet, and profit. Critical to this approach is the idea that if companies embed CSR into the core of their operations and approach it strategically, it could become part of their competitive advantage and actually help to create business value.

“CSR and business performance are not opposites of each other, if you manage CSR as a competitive advantage strategy,” says Frank Buytendijk, Oracle’s vice president of enterprise performance management (EPM) strategy. “That means CSR is an integral part of our performance management practices.”

While the concept of triple-bottom-line reporting and the emergence of sustainable business practices may be fairly recent phenomena, tools already exist to help IT managers address the trends. Many of Oracle’s products have already been deployed to help organizations meet the demands of this new wave of investment and reporting.

 

Telling Your CSR Story

The most visible process that companies can use to demonstrate commitment to strategic CSR is sustainability reporting, which is the method of providing information about an organization’s social, economic, and environmental impact based on its policies and practices. The definition of what is included in sustainability reporting is broad. Examples of positive impacts that might be reported include implementing progressive hiring policies for women and underrepresented minorities, offering locally grown food items in cafeterias, donating money to community schools, reducing a facility’s carbon emissions, and promoting sustainable forestry. Sustainability reporting can also showcase how a company is strengthening its social and environmental efforts, such as including the increasing amount of miles employees travel by rail as opposed to by air.
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