Reduce, Reuse, Reinvent
Adobe employees are leading the way in transforming old practices into forward-thinking, sustainable practices
Adobe has a long history of sustainability. More than 70% of the company’s workspaces are LEED-certified, and Newsweek magazine has ranked Adobe as the greenest IT company in the world. But while the company’s green efforts have always been supported at the very top, thousands of employees also take it upon themselves to make Adobe a sustainability leader—because they want their company to reflect their own values.See next article
Adobe employees were instrumental in getting plastic water bottles out of North American operations. They instituted a campaign to reduce food waste and start composting. They pushed to get electric vehicle charging stations installed and adopted an innovative “Skip a Trip” employee travel reduction campaign.
Those actions have given Adobe a well-deserved reputation as a company that cares about meeting its social and environmental responsibilities. And plenty of credit goes to the group of committed employees who continue to push the cause every day, forever dreaming up new ways to improve and inspire their coworkers to do the same.
Launched “Be the change” campaign
One of the reasons Nagesh B. was drawn to Adobe was the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
“I was always passionate about social initiatives in college because I strongly believe that people need to give back. And as a company, we can give back a lot,” Nagesh says. “So within six months of joining Adobe, when I had the opportunity to become the Green Champion of the Bangalore campus, I grabbed it.”
At Adobe sites around the world, Green Champions are individuals who commit to furthering sustainability initiatives in the company and among employees locally. They often work hand in hand with Green Teams, which are groups of volunteers who have the same interests.
Nagesh and the Bangalore Green Team got together to decide how they could best engage coworkers to become more aware of sustainability issues. They quickly reached a smart conclusion: You can’t motivate people to change unless you can demonstrate what’s wrong with the current situation. So Nagesh and the team launched a campaign called “Be the change” and bsaed it on cold, hard facts.
For example, they had noticed that employees were wasting an enormous amount of food each day in the cafeteria. Naturally, most employees might realize how much of their own food they toss at the end of lunch, but they didn’t pay attention to how those scraps added up to at the end of the day.
Nagesh and his colleagues, however, realized the magnitude of the problem and found a clever way to communicate it.
If I do travel, my team works to ensure the travel is impactful by scheduling multiple meetings with important target accounts. Adobe is generous in letting us travel when we need to, but we all have to be responsible with that empowerment.
“This campaign really spoke to me because it’s what I do on a weekly basis,” Karen says. “It came up right when I had been invited by a high-profile, must-win customer to a meeting that would require me to fly down to Los Angeles for the day, meet for an hour, and fly home. I always say yes when I’m invited by a C-level executive, but I thought, ‘Will it really make a difference to them this time?’”
Karen had already planned to visit the customer two weeks later, and she also had Adobe Connect videoconferencing technology at her disposal. So she skipped the trip and handled it remotely instead.
Although the initiative asks employees to skip a single trip each year, it has helped employees become more judicious in deciding which trips are worthwhile—invariably leading to more skipped trips.
Hosted roundtables to inspire coworkers
When Jeffrey Y. had the chance to join Adobe in 2010, he didn’t hesitate.
“I came from a multimedia and video world where Adobe is king, so this was my dream company,” Jeffrey says. “Out of school, I worked mainly in government, performing video production and interactive multimedia stuff, so when Adobe was looking to fill positions in the government space, I was completely ecstatic to work here.”
Job satisfaction goes a long way toward life satisfaction, but Jeffrey didn’t realize that things were about to get even better. At home, he and his family are passionate about eating locally and promoting sustainability. They garden fruits and vegetables as much as possible and hope to own a small farm to supply their own eggs and dairy someday. So when Jeffrey was offered the position of Green Champion for Adobe’s McLean, Virginia, campus, he was excited that Adobe wasn’t just giving him a cool job—it was also helping him spread his passion throughout the organization.
The people who were there were really interested and asking lots questions. They seemed to learn a lot from the talks.
Since that first successful step into organizing, the Green Team is now creating a plan for the future and even engaging employees to get their input on what the site’s sustainability initiatives should look like.
“We get a lot of support from Adobe—we even get a budget from headquarters, which we can use to organize events,” Stella says. “Adobe doesn’t just suggest we do something; they actually give us the means to do something, And that’s rare.”