Adobe Systems specializes in computer software for all sorts of platforms and technologies. Computer technology has never been considered a green industry, mainly due to the tremendous amount of energy required to create and operate computers and their software. Adobe, however, has taken the problem to heart and has emerged as arguably the most environmentally conscious major corporation in the country.

Adobe started to really focus on sustainability and being environmentally conscious during and immediately after the California energy crisis of 2001. Based in San Jose, Adobe understood how limited and restricted energy was becoming, and began taking steps to decrease their output. According to Newsweek, Adobe has reduced energy by 35% and natural gas use by 41% since 2005. Some of the seemingly minor changes that Adobe has made in just their office include motion sensors and waterless urinals.  As CNN reports, however, Adobe’s changes are not just good for the environment, but they are also simply good business. Since beginning their sustainability programs, Adobe has saved on average over $1 million annually.

Despite the great efforts the company has made to become more sustainable – not to mention being named as one of the greenest companies in America by multiple news outlets – information and writings on Adobe are surprisingly hard to find. The greatest resource I had about their green programs came from the Adobe website itself. The site goes into great detail about what Adobe has done and is currently doing in order to limit energy use, reduce carbon emissions and help reduce their footprint as much as possible. Some of the examples given are the installation of fuel cells in their offices (they provide around 30% of the needed electricity – more efficiently – meaning the rest of the energy is still in the grid), along with wind turbines at their headquarters in San Jose. Adobe has more office buildings certified platinum by the US Green Building Council than any other company (5), and their corporate headquarters received the highest score the Council has ever handed out. They also have an initiative currently in place, running through the end of 2012, that was designed to reduce energy used to power up and cool down their systems by 800% since 2009.

The list of what Adobe has done to become greener and more sustainable is as long as any company in America. Yet, for some reason, they have not been the focus of very much chatter in the public view. Other big name companies have received far more attention for doing far less. I think this may be a byproduct of an interesting phenomena – Adobe appears to be doing what they’re doing because they genuinely understand and care about the environment. The motivation for plenty of other companies, however, is purely outside pressure and keeping up their image. Because of this, Adobe doesn’t heavily promote or publicize their efforts, and are therefore not discussed as much as a company that makes a huge deal about their newest “green” program.


4 responses »

  1. Mike says:

    I agree. I have never heard of Adobe making any green initiatives before. I was surprised to see this company chosen. I think it is cool that they don’t publicize their green program. Having platinum certified buildings and reducing their energy in their systems by 800% is no simple task. I did however expect them to have more than $1 million in savings. I know see Adobe in a different light after learning about all their green practices.

  2. Tomas Smaliorius says:

    I wonder how much trouble did the company have in regards to putting up a wind turbine near their office. My high school recently installed a relatively large sized wind turbine on their property, but has received a lot of complaints from the neighbors in the area that the wind turbine is causing them sleeping problems, and other post-wind-turbine-installation-problems. I know that the high school is able to save nearly 30% of the energy that they consumed before, which makes me think as to why not more companies install wind turbines near their offices? Seems like a simple idea! Wind is free, why not use it? Kind of seems counter intuitive.

    • Jeff Galloway says:

      I agree with you, and I mentioned this general under Paul’s post. Companies have had proven success with green initiatives, both in terms of environmental impact and profits. Not only do these programs help the environment and save money, but they also greatly improve your public image, which is so important in today’s world. I just don’t get why more companies haven’t taken steps to become more environmentally friendly.

  3. Mike M says:

    I was also shocked to see Adobe listed as a top green company. Since they are a software manufacturer, they do not really produce anything so I would think their environmental impact would be minimal compared to that of a manufacturing company anyway. On reading this post, I was intrigued to learn that Adobe has taken many measures to become more environmentally friendly anyway. It is not surprising that they did this since it allowed them to save a considerable amount of money in energy costs, but I am surprised to see that they do not advertise their greening efforts as most companies with major greening efforts seem to do.

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