Though familiar to most Yonsei students as a design tool, Adobe is one of the leading IT corporations that actively tries to practice Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. The ‘Environmental’ criteria consider how much a company is dedicated to being environmentally sustainable. Nowadays going zero carbon in particular. The ‘Social’ criteria weigh how a said company manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, as well as the overall societal impact it has on related communities. Lastly ‘Governance’ deals with the company’s internal affairs such as leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.
In regards to all these criteria, Adobe manages fairly well, while managing to continue its mission to “Changing the world through digital experiences.” In regards to the three ESG pillars, the least intuitive and most intriguing maybe how a software company could achieve environmental sustainability.
Adobe stresses that ‘Partnership’ and ‘Digital Transformation Solutions’ were the main axes that help Adobe achieve environmental sustainability. When creating a partnership, Adobe strives to make a collaborative effort with all of its’ peers, customers, and suppliers, actively pushing the partnership to achieve environmental sustainability across each of Adobe’s three sustainability pillars: operations, products, ecosystems.
Through such efforts, Adobe was awarded CDP ‘A List’ for climate change for the fifth year straight, CDP Supplier Engagement Leader three years in a row, ITI Environmental Steward Award, and Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for five consecutive years.
From their 2020 sustainability report, I selected four projects that best-represented sustainability for Adobe; Energy Efficiency, Advocacy for Climate Action, Circular Design & Paperless Workflows, and Operational Sustainability
During the past three years, Adobe reduced its total energy consumption by over 10,000MWh and greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 tons (2.2 million lbs). Taking decisive actions regarding the promotion of RE through Science-Based Targets (SBTs) both on and off-site.
“We were among the first to set SBTs in 2016 (greater than 2oC ambition), following the guidance from the Paris Climate Accords. However, the crisis has deepened and in 2020 we raised the ambition on our SBTs to address the guidance on a 1.5oC-scenario. This, in addition to our RE100 goal set in 2015 of powering our operations and digital supply chain with 100 percent renewable energy (electricity)—without the use of offsets or unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs) to do it—really differentiates Adobe’s sustainability efforts,” says Vince Digneo, head of sustainability at Adobe. “Our sustainability goals are based on true renewable energy deployment, for our operations and throughout our supply chain, and advocating for policies that allows us to completely decarbonize our business by 2035.”
Adobe has a history of advocating for climate action by taking part of events such as but not limited to Amicus Brief for the U.S. Clean Power Plan (2016), We Are Still In (2017-2019), Clean Power Virginia (2017), CA SB100, CA Cap & Trade, and VA RE IRP (2018). Not to mention Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, actively argues that private and public sectors alike should put climate action at the forefront of COVID-19 recovery efforts.
All of Adobe’s work tools, its Document, Creative, and Experience Clouds are designed to eliminate physical workflows and reduce resource consumption. The “Adobe Sign” is one of the company’s most prominent examples. For every 1M transaction using Adobe Sign instead of traditional print, sign, or fax, over 27M gallons of water, 1.5M pounds of waste, and 23.4M pounds of CO2e is avoided.
The digital transformation Adobe promotes applies not only to files but to the overall operation chain as well. Adobe worked with EDF and the EPN to develop our Resource Saver Calculator (URL: https://acrobatusers.com/resource-saver-calculator/) so that customers understand how this product can help make any business more sustainable by saving time, resources, emissions, and costs. 100% of all Adobe solutions are delivered digitally -- with the commitment to power all of them with renewable energy -- moving our environmental impact to zero. Adobe Creative Cloud enables creative teams to collaborate virtually across geographies, reducing the need for business travel. Our 3D design and immersive technologies allow designers to replace resource-heavy photoshoots and wasteful physical prototypes and samples with photorealistic 3D designs and augmented reality experiences, further reducing resource consumption and carbon footprints.
Though ‘design’ and ‘environment’ exist as two independent sectors, Adobe connects these dots and achieves social innovation through their values. In turn, reciprocally exchanging and expanding the brand value that Adobe holds. Recognizing the “creative potential” each sector holds over another and embarking on a creative mission to connect “others to a cause that matters” is a lesson that we can all learn from Adobe. And try to remember once in a while when we are using Adobe-based tools for assignments.
- By Jayun Won (Academic Affairs Department)