I was delighted to be able to host last month’s EcoTuesday meeting at the San Francisco office of Adobe Systems, where I work as a Program Manager. The evening’s featured speaker was Erica Priggen, Executive Producer at Free Range Studios. This organization has a knack for conveying powerful messages in a concise, engaging, and entertaining manner and is responsible for such hits as the award-winning The Story of Stuff. At the EcoTuesday gathering, we got to see a sampling of their work.
Though the focus of the evening wasn’t the venue, it quickly became apparent how appropriate this location was for an EcoTuesday meeting. Before the featured speaker, we had a short introduction to Adobe’s sustainability initiatives by Meera Ramanathan, Global Sustainability Manager with Cushman and Wakefield, Adobe’s facilities management firm. The few minutes she spoke weren’t enough to detail all that Adobe is doing in this area, but they were enough to make me feel good about where I work. Some examples:
Adobe was the world’s first business to receive 4 platinum-level LEED certifications, including one for the building in which this meeting was held; 601 Townsend, built in 1905, received the first platinum LEED for an existing building in San Francisco and is the oldest LEED-certified platinum building in the world. The company is now at 11 LEED certifications overall — 9 of those at the platinum level, 2 at gold.
- Adobe has reduced use of electricity by 35%, natural gas by 41%, domestic water by 22%, and irrigation water by 76%, in addition to recycling or composting up to 95% of solid waste — for a total reduction in pollution from all sources by 26%.
- The San Jose headquarters has installed both wind spires and Bloom Energy fuel cell energy servers, known as “Bloom boxes.” These Bloom boxes are expected to provide about 30% of the site’s power over time.
- Electric car chargers have already been installed at some Adobe locations.
- Janitorial products used at Adobe satisfy the American Society for Testing and Materials Cleaning Stewardship for Community Building Standards and meet the Green Seal Cleaning Products Standards.
- As many companies are finding now, following green practices can cut costs. Significant savings have been realized by measures such as retrofitting air-conditioning systems, installing digital electric meters that closely monitor electricity use, and cutting water use.
- Adobe has adopted standards for maintaining recycled content levels in products and purchases; 60% of all office product purchases contain recycled content, and all materials installed in Adobe buildings must meet strict green specifications.
- Employees receive vouchers for transit services, railways, and buses.
- Water bottles have been replaced with reusable bottles and glasses, with water provided from filtered coolers.
Maybe I sound like I’m bragging, but I have to admit I’m impressed by all that Adobe is doing, especially given that what I’ve listed here is just part of the story. Adobe is clearly a leader in sustainability when it comes to corporate America. That’s good news, but even better is the fact that we’re not alone. Other large companies, even such unlikely ones as Walmart, have made huge strides in this area, as they find that “the bottom line of green is black” and that by adopting sustainable practices, they can realize intangible but significant benefits in addition to dollar savings. It’s our job as employees to encourage companies to continue along this path — and it’s our job as inhabitants of the earth to spread the word everywhere we can about the benefits of going green.
The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the position, views, or opinions of Adobe.