Earth Day 2023: How Oracle invests in our planet to serve a transforming world

Colleen Cassity, Vice President, Social Impact, OracleApril 21, 2023
Earth Day
Photo credit: Max Whittaker, courtesy of Save the Redwoods League

This year’s Earth Day theme, Invest in Our Planet, resonates with me and so many around the world. Now more than ever, as the impact of climate change becomes abundantly clear, everyone’s efforts to protect and repair our environment are crucial.

At Oracle, we’re committed to being at the forefront of environmental and social impact to serve a transforming world. “Transforming” is an important word here. Environmental, economic, and social pressures create wave after wave of change globally. Any successful endeavor to achieve positive change for the planet must be built-to-adapt to meet evolving circumstances, needs, and challenges.

The question I often ask myself then is, how might we better serve a transforming world?


Doubling down on our commitments

Setting ambitious sustainability goals and helping customers on their sustainability journeys are fundamental in our fight for a healthier planet. Because we embed sustainability within our operations, employee culture, and services, we’re able to share our results and success stories to inspire others—and drive change.

Oracle is focused on achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Oracle has committed to matching all worldwide Oracle Cloud Regions with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Several Oracle Cloud Regions are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, which enables customers to run their computing services more sustainably and with a lower carbon footprint.

Oracle’s impact, however, goes well beyond our own company’s goals. We know that serving a transforming world requires lengthening our reach. It means ensuring change-makers on the ground have the resources they need to act quickly and effectively.


Investing in effective and impactful projects

Beyond our own sustainability initiatives, we also invest in impactful projects that are protecting the natural world and wildlife. Take National Geographic Pristine Seas as one example. National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala founded the project in 2008 to combine exploration, research, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the oceans’ vital places, and Oracle began supporting the project in 2009.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas

To date, Pristine Seas has helped inspire the creation of 26 marine protected areas that cover more than 6.6 million square kilometers. Still, the science is clear that more is needed: we need to protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 to ensure the viability of our life support system—Earth. The ocean covers 70 percent of the planet and shelters an incredible diversity of life. It gives us food, jobs, and more than half the oxygen we breathe.

Oracle has long invested in effective organizations focused on restoring critical ecosystems. One prime example is Save the Redwoods League, which helps restore ancient California redwood forests to stimulate the growth of young trees, enabling the forest to regain resilience against drought and fire, expand wildlife habitats, and improve the health of waterways.

Another is The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve the lands and the waters on which all life depends. Our grants support the restoration of kelp forests on California’s North Coast, a critical ocean habitat that supports more than a thousand marine species, as well as protection of the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve in Austin, Texas. The 4,000-acre preserve protects habitat for several rare and endangered species and safeguards the quality of water in the Barton Creek watershed and the Edwards Aquifer, which is the main supplier of drinking water for two million Central Texans.


Protecting endangered species

Photo credit: Courtesy of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Another example of a long-time Oracle grantee protecting wildlife and vital ecosystems is the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (Fossey Fund). Three decades ago, we teamed up with the Fossey Fund in a shared mission to protect endangered gorillas, and today, Oracle Cloud hosts one of the world’s largest, most comprehensive longitudinal collections of data on any wild gorilla population, for free. Also available free to researchers, students and citizen scientists everywhere is Animal Observer, an animal health and behavioral data collection app developed by the Fossey Fund with support from Oracle.

Why invest in gorilla conservation? Gorillas live in the second-largest tropical rainforest left on the planet, the Congo Basin. Rainforests are one of our best natural defenses against climate change. Often called the “lungs of the Earth,” they breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Yet, an alarming 39 million acres of tropical rainforests were lost at the hands of human exploitation in 2017 alone.

Known as the “gardeners of the forest,” gorillas play a critical role in protecting the health of their ecosystem. In the course of their daily lives, they disperse seeds, clear out underbursh, and prune roots and shoots – keeping the forest healthy and indirectly benefiting many other species of plants, animals, and insects. Further, humans share 98% of their DNA with gorillas. They are so like us, and by protecting them, we are ultimately protecting the planet and ourselves.


Volunteering for a healthy planet

Oracle Volunteers invest in our planet year-round by undertaking environmental projects in their communities.


Each year, Oracle Volunteers rally around our Focus on Environment initiative, which runs through March and April. Ocean Conservancy is Oracle Volunteering’s global partner in this initiative. Ocean Conservancy is on a mission to engage communities around the world in protecting the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Their work focuses on creating evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.

Oracle has partnered with Ocean Conservancy to host local cleanups around the world since 2021, and thousands of Oracle Volunteers have participated. We’ve implemented more than 60 projects in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy, and this year, Oracle Volunteers have already signed up for 33 projects across more than a dozen countries.

Oracle Volunteers are also helping in other ways including planting trees, undertaking citizen science projects, creating rainwater harvesting systems, and much more.


The time to invest in our planet is now

At Oracle, we have seen the widespread positive impact of our own investments towards a healthier world. But we know no one can create real change alone. This work would not be possible without our inspirational grantees and partners. Together, we are healing places and people, and protecting the natural world.

As conservationist Jane Goddall said, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” This Earth Day and every day, I hope we each make good decisions—about how we volunteer, how we power our households, what we purchase, what we eat, the vehicles we drive, the organizations we support with our donations. No action is too small and each of us can make a positive impact on the world around us.