Please note: this blog was published in April 2020 and its content is based on what was correct at the time of writing. As a result, some of the facts and opinions may no longer be current or relevant.
When you think of Adobe, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the annoying banner that pops up telling you that your Flash needs updating in order to watch a video. It isn’t often that Adobe and sustainability are thought of together, aside from the paper waste saved by not needing to print the document you are reviewing. It isn’t all about paper waste with Adobe, and hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll understand the action Adobe is taking to improve its business practices. Our Ethical Investment Plans include Adobe Inc, which is held in the Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth Fund.
The finance stuff 📈
Company value: £115 billion
Share price: £293.61
2019 Profits: £2.3 billion
What does Adobe do? 🤷
Headquartered in San Jose, (California) and with over 22,500 employees, Adobe Inc is a global leader in creativity and office software. The company invented the Portable Document Format (PDF) in the 1990s which is one of the most common file formats used today. The PDF was created to enable the layout of a document to remain unchanged regardless of program, computer, or operating system you use. Other products Adobe has brought to our computers include Photoshop and Illustrator which are part of Adobe Creative Cloud (formerly Creative Suite), the latter two are probably ones you haven’t heard of unless you're a Graphic Designer.
The company was founded in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke in Warnock’s garage. A little-known fact is that Adobe was the name of the creek that ran behind Warnock’s house. Another little-known fact is that the late Steve Jobs attempted to buy Adobe for $5million back in 1982 but could only manage to get 19% of the company. This helped Adobe become the first company in the history of Silicon Valley to become profitable in its first year.
What positive impact is Adobe having? 🌱
Adobe’s approach to sustainable energy began with a project based in India. The Bangalore office is the benefactor of a new solar powered initiative. A 2.5-megawatt solar power purchase agreement means that the office will be run on 100% renewable energy and will provide enough power to cover the annual energy demand for this office. Their aim is to introduce this across all of Adobe’s offices across the globe by 2035.
Adobe has also adopted the LEED building standards. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and it’s an initiative that aims to help buildings give back to the planet by using sustainable construction materials and maximising efficiency. As things currently stand, 22 of Adobe’s buildings are LEED certified, with 8 achieving the highest standard, making them some of the most environmentally sound buildings in the world. Adobe’s building in San Francisco is over 100 years old and makes in the oldest LEED certified building in the world. 73% of Adobe’s employees work in these sustainable buildings, which offers perks such as edible gardens and on-site farmers markets which is contributing to improved productivity, wellness and job satisfaction.
It isn’t just about saving energy and improving the quality of the buildings, the company has achieved a perfect 100% score for the last 3 years and is recognised as a leader in providing workplace LGBTQ equality by the Corporate Equality Index.
Adobe has checked the boxes of many environmental and social factors that warrant a place in an ethical plan, but it doesn't stop there. Diversity and equality are core components of daily life at Adobe, and the company achieved Global Gender pay parity for all Adobe employees. To reach this goal, less than 5% of Adobe’s employees (both men and women) received a pay rise which represented less than 0.2% of the Global wage bill. A worthwhile investment for sure!
What Adobe has to say 📣
"At Adobe, we believe that sustainable solutions are good for our business, our customers, our employees and the communities where we work and live. Operational sustainability is a hallmark of Adobe. It was instrumental in our transition from boxed software to digital delivery of products, it has allowed us to set a 100% renewable energy goal by 2035 and it has enabled our long-held culture of sustainability through our workforce.
Sustainability at Adobe means running a business that consistently reduces our impact on the planet and responsibly enhances our bottom line. Our employees are a generous bunch. We salute them – and we match their donations of time, cash and securities to eligible non-profits and schools. Our move to cloud-based products and electronic document services has reduced post-consumer waste as well as carbon emissions from product transport. So, our customers can do amazing things with their Adobe software while doing good for the planet."
What Liontrust think… 🤓
"Adobe is a key beneficiary of important structural drivers in the move to a digital economy, including the shift to digital content in the media world and to mobile platforms.
It is also shifting its customer base in the Creative Cloud product to a cloud-based platform, which can significantly cut energy usage. The move to a cloud from a subscription-based platform also significantly increases Adobe’s addressable market, leading to dependable high growth for the company. This shift to cloud-based platforms in the technology industry is an important step in terms of reducing the energy needed to power the digital economy."
To wrap up 🎁
For a company based almost entirely online or in the cloud, it’s refreshing to see the principles and practices Adobe has put in place to stand out as a sustainable company. By offering a software-based solution that requires no packaging, the company has managed to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its own operations as well as all of the companies and individuals who use its products. That’s not to mention all of the other things that has been covered in this article which barely scratches the surface of the changes Adobe has made, and the path in which the company is heading.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.