Adobe

Adobe aims to be 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2035. Here, Michelle Crozier Yates, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Adobe and Executive Director, Adobe Foundation, explains the company’s plans.

What is driving you to become ‘100% renewable’?

Becoming 100% renewable has been part of our energy plan for some time. In the past five years, we have lowered our energy consumption and subsequent emissions, reaching carbon neutrality in 2013. But this is not enough.  Our long-term goal is to power our operations and digital delivery of products with 100% renewable energy by 2035. We'll run entirely on renewable electricity.

Our plans will not only minimize emissions from our own operations, but help power local communities with renewable energy through creative partnerships. We want to create a ripple effect starting with the locations in which Adobe operates, realizing economic, health and climate benefits for all.

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

Joining RE100 is more than good, it is necessary. As a founding member of BSR’s Future of Internet Power group, and an early signatory of the WWF/WRI Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles – and subsequently the Rocky Mountain Institute Business Renewables Center – we know that the only way to move markets is by working together.  Collaboration is everything and the unilateral message has to be that renewable energy is our future, and we want it now.

How easy was it to decide on your 100% goal?

It was complicated because our goal is not based on just purchasing RECs; we’ve done that and it didn’t meet our expectations. We also don’t want to wait for our utility to go renewable, and raise our rates in the process. We intend to get there through true renewable “additionality” to our grids.

To do this, we needed to assess what strategy for renewable energy would work where we operate, determine how much we would need and in what timeframe. Once we got to this point, we reached consensus quickly due to the historical success of our investments in sustainability initiatives.

What have you achieved so far as you work towards your goal?

As of 2014 we are already 30% powered by renewable electricity, and 70% of our global workplaces are already LEED certified – recognizing our best-in-class building strategies and practices.

More than 97% of our software is electronically delivered, and we continuously work with our data center suppliers to increase the proportion that is powered with renewable electricity.

What opportunities and challenges are you encountering as you work towards 100%?

A 100% renewable energy future is the most promising it has ever been.  However, getting there alone would be exceptionally challenging.  We have best practices to learn from our peers, our NGO colleagues, our local governments and utilities.

Decreasing costs are speeding up our movement. Grid-scale renewable energy costs continue to drop every quarter, making it available at cost parity. We’ve also been able to stabilize our energy costs over 10-20 years through creative power purchase agreements (PPAs).

What are your plans for switching to 100% renewable electricity?

We are choosing to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) that feed into the grid we are connected to, confirm the business case for renewables, and do not include unbundled RECs. We’re working with our NGO colleagues and local utilities to do the same.

We’re also planning to deploy alternatives on-site, when appropriate.

Why do you think it is important for companies to play a role in accelerating demand for renewable electricity?

The private sector accounts for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption.  Collectively, we are the tide that raises all ships.

How else are you helping to drive forward the transition to a low carbon economy?

It all starts with constant energy efficiency in operations. You can’t consider a PPA without doing this first – and it will save you money.

Since 2002, in our nine owned North American facilities, we’ve completed more than 180 energy efficiency projects that have reduced electricity usage by 50%, natural gas usage by 30%, domestic water usage by 79%, and irrigation water usage by 71%.

We’re also including our employees in our goals, and encouraging them to “Skip a Trip” (an initiative to reduce employee travel), getting them discounts on electric vehicles (EVs), promoting commuting alternatives and waste reduction. We’re deploying these practices at the office and making it easy for people to take these ideas home. As with RE100, collaboration is key. We can’t go it alone. We all have a stake in this.

Last updated: December 2015


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