As a company in an increasingly energy-intensive business, Adobe is always looking for new ways to reduce our energy consumption and stabilise costs. With our goal of operating with 100% renewable energy by 2035 underway, our first objective is to reduce the energy we use now – even as our business grows. We focus first on energy efficiency, purchasing only the amount of renewable energy required.
We started working towards our 100% renewable energy goal years ago, becoming an early member of RE100 and joining the Science Based Targets initiative with verified goals. We are advocating for local, regional and federal policy to decarbonise and modernise our grids and open them up to renewable energy for everyone – not just our own business. Most importantly, we plan to reach our goal without purchasing any unbundled renewable energy credits or carbon offsets. For Adobe, the goal is not to simply offset our carbon footprint, but to fundamentally change it.
Operating sustainably has been one of Adobe’s core values since the beginning, but we can’t go it alone. We will only achieve our ambitious goals if we work together. In order to share best practices and collaborate with peers, Adobe is an active member of many business and industry groups such as BSR’s Future of Internet Power (FoIP), the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance (REBA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) Clean Power Coalition (CPC). In addition, Adobe is part of the US Green Building Council’s Building Health Initiative and the Bay Area Council’s Water Task Force to further our commitment to efficient workspaces that conserve natural resources and allow us to provide our products to customers with minimal or no environmental impact.
In summary, Adobe intends to reach our RE100 goal by 2035 through operational and energy efficiency excellence; through policy advocacy that pushes everyone to a low-to-no carbon economy; by “fuel switching” (moving all natural gas and fuel oil to electric) when technology advancements allow it; and then by procuring only true, renewable energy from decarbonised grids where we work and live.
Energy Measurement + Management
We recognise that we can’t manage what we can’t measure. So, we’ve developed and implemented a monitoring system that captures energy and critical operations data based on thousands of data points, from electricity, water and natural gas usage to the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of all Adobe data centres. In our San Jose, California, headquarters alone, we collect energy usage and critical operations information for more than 30,000 data points.
We measure and report Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions at our buildings, leased workspaces and our owned data centre, as well as our share of emissions at co-located data centres in our digital supply chain. We take our Scope 3 emissions seriously and as part of our verified Science-Based Targets, we have goals to reduce employee business travel even while our business is growing. All this information is reported to CDP and posted on Adobe.com. In 2017 we achieved the CDP Climate A List and were named to DJSI World for the second consecutive year.
Minimising Environmental Impact While Growing Our Business
Over 70% of Adobe employees around the world come to work each day in LEED-certified workspaces. Our commitment to the guidance of the USGBC is part of what we do. We believe responsible, clean, efficient, well-designed workspaces are not just great places to work, but they also save money and emissions.
As a technology company, energy and water efficiency is everything in data centre management. Through server room consolidation and virtualisation, new technology adoption and deployment in our owned data centre and collaboration with our co-located data centre providers, we are laser-focused on data centre efficiency.
To that point, as Adobe’s revenues grew 22 per cent in 2016 and 25 per cent in 2017 and full-time employment (FTE) rose by 14 per cent both years - but our total normalised carbon intensity (total Scope 1+2 metric tonnes CO2e/FTE) decreased by 2.6% and 8%, respectively. These are only two data points, but they demonstrate that operational efficiency can reduce environmental impact and operational costs.
And as we make specific renewable energy purchases, we intend to prove that reducing emissions growth while growing a healthy business is not just possible, it is a must.
Renewable Energy + Storage
As a leading technology company, Adobe has a proud history of investing in new technologies. That holds true for on-site generation and storage. In 2009 we installed 20 Windspire wind turbines at our San Jose headquarters, which capture the energy of the wind speeding up as it flows between our three office towers. In 2014, we became the first Fortune 500 company to install an intelligent energy storage system from Stem. Installed in our San Francisco office, Stem’s predictive analytics algorithm automatically responds to spikes in the building’s electricity use, drawing on previously stored power to reduce our energy costs without affecting operations.
And last, in 2017 and 2018, Adobe entered into two grid-scale power purchase agreements (PPAs) that not only brought us closer to reaching our RE100 goal, but also showed that collaboration is key to moving forward.
- In India, Acrobat Signed a 2.5-megawatt, grid-scale, “open” access solar PPA for our Bangalore site. So instead of purchasing unbundled renewable energy credits to offset the carbon-based, “dirty” electricity, we’re buying solar energy that goes directly into the local power grid in Bangalore, so that the greater community benefits from the clean power along with us. And we are also saving money on our utility bill by doing this.
- In the US, we partnered with Facebook and Enel Green Power in March 2018 to sign the tech industry’s first aggregated purchase of wind energy — a project demonstrating that two companies with similar renewable energy goals can work together to achieve their objectives. For all three companies, this is an important next step in helping open up the US renewable energy market, stabilising the cost of energy and helping to eliminate pollution in the region. Further, it provides revenue for local farmers, ranchers and landowners in the process. This project came to fruition because we have worked with Facebook on sustainability initiatives over the years. We believe and hope many other companies faced with similar goals will use this as an example of what can be done when we work together.