Five Ways Adobe is Creating Change for a Sustainable Future

Extending Earth Month all year long.

Five Ways Adobe is Creating Change for a Sustainable Future

We all have a part to play in creating a more sustainable future. Whether you’re the leader of a large company or a volunteer in your local community, there are many ways to enact change. We remain committed to our sustainability goals at Adobe, and we know that when we come together with the broader community and with our peers, we can make a much bigger difference.

As we look back on Earth Month, and acknowledge the importance of a year-round commitment to sustainability, here are five ways that we’re working toward a more sustainable future.

1. Focusing on operational excellence

Operational excellence is key to a successful, sustainable business. Not only does it help us improve efficiency and reduce our energy consumption, but it also provides cost savings and benefits for our business, customers and shareholders. We are firm believers that sustainability can and should be both good for the environment, and good for business.

We’re addressing operational excellence in a few ways, including:

  • Renovating our buildings and designing new buildings to optimize sustainable impact and reduce energy consumption, such as installing rooftop solar panels on our new building expansion in Lehi, Utah, and powering our India facilities with open access renewable energy
  • Performing technology refreshes on equipment to maximize efficiency and performance, which uses less energy
  • Bringing innovative technology to our sites when we can, including a battery system at our San Francisco site that helps power our building during peak energy demand to reduce our load on the local grid
  • Ensuring that more than 70 percent of our employees work in LEED-certified workspaces, including 100 percent of employees at our global headquarters in San Jose

As Adobe’s business has grown, so has our commitment to sustainability. Over our last fiscal year, we acquired Marketo and Magento, grew our global workforce by 19 percent, and have still been able to reduce carbon emissions per employee by 25 percent. This is just one example of how we’re reducing our environmental impact and energy consumption by thinking environment-first when it comes to everyday business decisions. This is no small feat for a company that has more than 21,000 employees worldwide, and it’s one achievement of which I’m particularly proud.

2. Addressing renewable energy as a business imperative

When it comes to making strategic business decisions, after reducing energy consumption, we prioritize renewable energy investments to preserve our natural resources. Adopting sustainable solutions makes smart business sense, from both a growth and revenue standpoint. For example, with the cost of wind and solar decreasing by 90% over the past 10 years, it is quickly becoming the most cost-effective way to decarbonize our grids. We made a big achievement in 2018 by signing the first-ever renewable energy collaboration deal through a virtual power purchase agreement in partnership with Enel and Facebook, procuring 10 MW of wind energy that will match our total California electricity use. Collaborations like this are key to meeting our goals and are critical to decarbonizing U.S. electricity grids.

We also hold our suppliers to the same standard that we hold ourselves, encouraging and enabling them to adopt and achieve their own renewable energy goals. In addition, we collaborate with our customers and suppliers to meet our RE100 goals, our UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our Science-Based Targets. Since 2017, Adobe has decreased its total energy consumption by over 10,000 MWh and decreased GHG emissions by 1000 tonnes. We’re on track with our commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 and are proud of the progress we’ve made so far.

Beyond meeting renewable energy goals for our own business, our larger goal is to open up renewable energy for our communities. By decarbonizing our grids and adding clean energy to them, that not only powers Adobe’s operations, but also the homes, schools and community facilities around us, enabling us to do our part in creating positive change for all.

3. Embracing a culture of sustainability

We’re fortunate to have passionate employees who care about contributing to a sustainable world. Our employees are encouraged to bring their full selves to work, and we recognize that they value sustainability and want to work for a company that does as well.

We enable our employees to get involved by participating in our Action Teams. Through volunteer work, our employees are strengthening their communities and supporting a sustainable future. For example, our Action Team in San Jose recently raised awareness for the Climate Smart San Jose initiative at our global headquarters, where they hosted an event with the San Jose City Council. Climate Smart San Jose aims to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement. This is just one way our employees integrate sustainability into their daily lives, and it’s something we are proud of.

In addition, our employees are living sustainably outside of the office, too. For example, 18 percent of our U.S. employees drive electric vehicles, which is over three times the percentage of all EV drivers in California. To accommodate for the uptick in employees driving electric vehicles and to support these positive changes, we have tripled the number of electric vehicle charging stations on our campuses since 2015. Additionally, we have switched our company fleet vehicles from diesel to electric in India to support our commuting program and help clear the air where our employees live and work.

4. Making a global impact by starting with communities

As complex, environmental issues remain present in national conversations, we believe that discussions should start at the local level to advance change. By considering and advocating for local renewable energy legislation, we can directly impact our communities. We are strong believers in corporate stewardship, and we’ve supported local legislation in California, Washington, Oregon and Virginia that would benefit the economy by embracing renewable energy. We’re excited about what we’ve achieved in the U.S. as well as internationally, in Bangalore and the state of Karnataka.

Policy advocacy isn’t just a moral imperative—it’s a business one. Consumers expect businesses to advocate for sound renewable energy and climate policies. Adobe has supported California’s 100 Percent Clean Energy for California legislation (SB 100), Oregon’s Cap and Invest proposal (HB 2020) and the 100 Percent Clean Energy bill in Washington (SB 5116)—three locations where we have operations. In addition, we and our peers are leading by example in supporting policy in Virginia, to encourage the Virginia State Corporation Commission and Dominion Energy to deploy clean and renewable energy on the electric grid where we have digital supply chain operations.

When it comes to sustainability, no one can do it alone. Finding strategic partners helps us leverage our combined influence to support legislation and push for progress.

5. Achieving more through collaboration

We view collaboration and partnerships as essential to drive holistic, systemic change. We hold ourselves accountable through our work with organizations including the Ceres Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Network, the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Association (REBA), World Resources Institute (WRI), the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Future of Internet Power Group, and more. We’re also working alongside more than 100 other companies through the Science Based Targets initiative to meet GHG emission reduction targets to future-proof growth and are on track to reduce our contribution to CO2 in absolute terms by 2025.

We’re proud to have recently been awarded the Ceres Golden State Warrior Climate Award for our partnership on advocating for strong environmental policies. Additionally, in 2018, Adobe was one of only six software companies globally to be named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and we also made the CDP A List, ranked among the top two percent of thousands of companies responding. It’s recognition like this that demonstrates our approach to a sustainable future is resonating with others, and creating more momentum for others to join in.

Not only are we becoming more energy efficient, but we’re enabling our customers to digitally transform their businesses, which will eliminate inefficient physical processes and reduce resource consumption and waste. A terrific example of this is customer adoption of Adobe’s Document Cloud services, including Adobe Sign. When you create, edit, share, sign and store documents and workflows digitally versus through a paper process, you can reduce your environmental impact by well over 90% (and over 95% when using a mobile device). This is why we created our Resource Saver Calculator: to show how much water, trees, waste, energy and expense one can save by going digital.

To create change and foster a sustainable future, it is critically important for businesses to embrace renewable energy, lead by example and collaborate. By taking steps to reduce our environmental impact, whether that be advocating for local legislation, changing company operations, or even simply switching to LED lightbulbs in your own home, every action makes a difference.  And now more than ever, businesses have a responsibility to their employees, customers and communities to prioritize sustainable solutions. From our workspaces to our digital supply chain, we believe operational excellence and collaboration with our peers, suppliers and customers is the way forward. Through this collaboration, we can create greater systemic change—more than any of us could alone.

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