Creativity, Technology & the Congressional Art Competition

Creative Ideas

Posted by Jace Johnson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy

Creativity is a catalyst for student success. That’s why we are proud to support the Congressional Art Competition, an event that gives high school students across the country the opportunity to have their artwork displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol building, for the fourth year in a row. Since the competition began in 1982, over 650,000 students have submitted their original artwork to be considered for display. These submissions span an impressive array of artistic mediums – from drawings and paintings, to prints and graphics.  The selected winners for 2016 will formally be recognized at a national ceremony today.

In an increasingly digital world, thinking creatively is necessary for developing innovative solutions to the most pressing societal problems. Adobe strives to enhance this creative thinking by supporting art and design courses taught in tandem with the conventional STEM subjects.  Coding and computer science skills are undeniably critical in our increasingly interconnected and data-driven world. However, there cannot solely be a focus on the development of quantitative math and science abilities.  A key component of the Congressional Art Competition is demonstrating that artistic skills are also necessary in an increasingly digitized world to express ideas in a compelling, constructive way.

As it stands, the demand for STEM workers exceeds the supply of students equipped with either skill in, or passion for, the field. With less than 20 percent of U.S. high school seniors proficient or interested in STEM, it is expected that nearly 2.4 million science and technology jobs will be left unfilled in 2018. The imaginative thinking and fresh perspectives that are fostered in art and design education, however, can help to close this gap by enhancing and diversifying students’ skillsets.

Government plays a critical role in this process. Although the United States is the current global leader in technology exports and innovation, a recent study reveals that only 29 percent of American’s surveyed rated the country’s K-12 STEM education as ‘above average’ or ‘the best in the world’.  This is why policymakers should support programs that give schools adequate resources to access the most up-to-date digital software and applications along with encouraging creativity. They should also help fund the transition to cloud-based technologies that enable greater student collaboration and exchange of ideas, both inside and outside the classroom.

Our efforts to integrate creativity and software demonstrate the continued Adobe commitment to providing a more holistic, innovative STEAM education for students, teachers, and administrators. Shouldn’t government should strive to do the same?

We encourage you to take the time to be inspired by the creative work of the Congressional Art Competition district winners by following #congressionalartcompetition on Twitter.

IANA Transition Needs Clear Benchmarks and Safety Valves

Best Internet Concept of global business from concepts series

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Trademark Director and Associate General Counsel

Note: This article ran in CircleID on June 15, 2016

The transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the multi-stakeholder community is one step closer to becoming reality. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approved the proposal submitted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to privatize oversight of the internet domain name system’s central root zone last week, crossing a critical hurdle for advocates of the transition. However, two recent Congressional hearings have put the IANA transition back in the crosshairs of many policymakers and political pundits, keeping the likelihood of the transition occurring before September up in the air once again.

While there are a number of legitimate concerns that still need to be ironed out before the transition occurs, some members of Congress still seem intent on punting the decision for another year or more. Rather than debating when the transition should occur, we need a robust discussion about the benchmarks that ICANN needs to meet before September and what off-ramps or safety valves can be created in case these benchmarks are not met.

Before the Memorial Day recess, the Senate Commerce Committee evaluated the transition proposal submitted by ICANN to see if a short-term extension is potentially needed, and some members still seem hesitant to allow a transition to occur at all. On the same day, a House Appropriations subcommittee reported the annual Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill with language forbidding the Commerce Department from using funds to facilitate the transition. This hesitancy to take concrete steps to ensure the transition occurs on time should be disconcerting to the multi-stakeholder community that has invested years of hard work into the proposal.

Delaying the transition would do the one thing that Congressional Republicans fear the most: embolden foreign governments that want to exert greater control over internet governance. Members of Congress need to understand that this transition is in the best interest of their constituents. Allowing the transition to remain in limbo only increases the risk of foreign governments cracking down on free speech or fracturing the internet into pieces by developing their own networks. This balkanization of the internet is the antithesis of what a smooth IANA transition hopes to accomplish.

Instead, policymakers should be working to ensure benchmarks are reached and safety valves are in place in case ICANN fails to achieve these goals. Benchmarks for the proper role of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and providing additional guidance about ICANN’s mission statement need to be outlined. Because ICANN’s recent behavior has raised concerns, ensuring an off-ramp or safety valve is in place if ICANN fails to reach these goals is needed more than ever. The ICANN board’s recent decision to vote on bylaw changes just a few days after public comments were submitted should raise some eyebrows. If ICANN continues to not allow adequate for stakeholders to raise legitimate concerns, NTIA should be ready with a course of action.

The multi-stakeholder community has made too much progress to ignore their hard work at this stage. They have worked for years to develop a proposal that ensures the internet remains a tool of economic and social change that is free from governmental overreach. With the appropriate benchmarks and safety valves in place, the multi-stakeholder community should continue to move closer to making the transition a reality.

Adobe Joins Alliance for Open Media to Develop Next Generation Video Platform

Posted by Dana Rao, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation

Video streaming services and video creation companies pay licensing fees for not only the hours and hours of movies and TV shows that viewers watch but also the basic coding technology that enables files to be created and displayed. The cost to license this technology has become a major impediment to innovation for companies trying to make content easily available to millions (billions!) of consumers, which is why Adobe is proud to join the Alliance for Open Media.

Along with other members like Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, and many others, Adobe is working to develop technology for open video compression and delivery across numerous devices. As a member of the alliance, Adobe will collaborate with industry leaders to create a leading edge and royalty-free video codec. Bottom line: this means faster and higher resolution video is on its way at a lower cost to the consumer.

The Alliance has made its code publicly available as an open source project so that stakeholders can collaborate to develop the highest quality video platform possible. Developing an open source project is an important step in delivering a next-generation video format that is interoperable, optimized for internet delivery, scalable across any device, capable of delivering high quality real-time video, while also flexible for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, including user-generated content. And perhaps most importantly, this new standard will ensure licensing costs are not passed along to users who want to share or view video online.

Until now, patent and licensing battles have been a significant roadblock to innovation in the video streaming world. There are multiple conflicting licensing pools and rates that make it complex and costly for companies to provide streaming services.  Despite the recent progress that has been made in the courts in setting truly reasonable royalties for these standardized technologies, some are still looking at open standards as an open check book. The costs they impose slow down the universal goal of making content easy to consume and accessible for everyone.

The Alliance for Open Media and Adobe are dedicated to bringing forward a royalty-free advanced media compression technology that Adobe users can use to connect and collaborate around the world.

Creativity + Software: The New Lesson Plan

Schoolchildren Running Outside

Posted by Tacy Trowbridge, Lead, Worldwide Education Team

Computers and software are the pens and paper of the modern student, but getting these tools into the hands of students can be difficult. Programs and grants meant to bring new technology into the classroom have been underfunded for years and antiquated rules sometimes prevent schools from getting the software they need. While Adobe has tried to make a difference by committing more than $300 million in software and professional development to schools in the United States through the White House’s ConnectED initiative, it can’t fill the void left by years of underfunding. To ensure schools are getting the resources they need to cultivate the next generation of creative problem solvers, legislators need to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Provide consistent education funding from year to year

As more software companies turn to subscription-based models for their products, the need to consistently fund schools from year to year is crucial. Otherwise, schools may have the funding one year and not the next, making it difficult for administrators and teachers to maintain student access to basic digital tools.

Fortunately, thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress last year, schools have a new resource. The bill authorized more than $4 billion in Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants over the next three years to help schools purchase software, hardware, and other resources needed to prepare the workforce of the future. For FY 2017, Congress is authorized to appropriate as much as $1.65 billion in SSAE grants to local schools. However, President Barack Obama’s budget only provides $500 million for the grants in FY 2017, and the Senate Appropriations Committee appropriated even less ($300 million) when it reported its education funding bill out of committee earlier this month. Such a low level would set a dangerously low benchmark for future appropriations.

Adobe encourages House and Senate appropriators to fully fund the SSAE grants at their authorized level to give educators the resources they need. The SSAE grants allow schools to use up to 60 percent of the funds for technology purposes, and each school district should receive at least $10,000 – a potentially significant investment in smart boards, projectors, and software.

  1. Ensure students have access to subscription-based software

Most software companies have turned to subscription-based models because it is how customers want to purchase software. Creative professionals want to invest in software that will remain the industry standard for years to come rather than having to purchase updates every few years, and school administrators are no different. Legislators should not restrict how schools buy software. Putting limitations on subscription-based software or requiring schools to purchase particular formats is the quickest way to ensure school resources become dated.

Schools should be able to purchase software just like any business. As hard as it may be to believe, some states and districts still purchase software on CDs. Students should be using the same software in the classroom that they would be using in the workplace. If we want the next generation of students to develop the digital literacy and creative skills they need to succeed in the workforce, grants should make it easier for schools to buy the best, most current software – regardless of format.

  1. Enable students to access school software no matter where they are

Thanks to advances in technology, learning does not have to end when they leave the classroom. With the move to cloud-based software, students can now collaborate with classmates no matter where they are, adding a new dimension to the way students learn, interact, and communicate.  Bringing this technology into the classroom better prepares students to develop the skills they will need in an increasingly digital and visual word.

Teachers should encourage students to be resourceful and use the tools at their disposal to tell stories in new, innovative ways. Rather than writing a term paper or filling out a worksheet, students learning a foreign language can demonstrate their competency by filming and editing a video that conveys a story in another language. Students today need to be able to do more than write a term paper, and creativity needs to be part of every class across the curriculum.

All of these recommendations are meant to help students become creative thinkers and doers who can take an idea and make it come to life, but accomplishing this requires significant investment. We encourage legislators at both the state and federal level to fully fund education programs and grants while removing archaic restrictions on how students purchase or use software.

At Adobe, we like to say “Creativity is not an elective; it’s our future.” Now the question is whether lawmakers share the same belief.

It’s Easy Being Green at Adobe

Posted by Jace Johnson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy

Sustainability has been part of Adobe’s culture since its beginning. The invention of the PDF not only made signing and sharing documents easier, it also dramatically reduced unnecessary waste. Since then, Adobe has promoted a culture of sustainability among its employees, customers, and communities that we operate in, and the company’s newly released Corporate Responsibility report highlights just a few ways that Adobe is making a significant impact on the world around us.

We are a leader in developing software and digital delivery tools that reduce our impact on natural resources. 97 percent of Adobe’s software is distributed electronically, greatly reducing the need for paper and plastic packaging as well as unnecessary truck deliveries. In fact, the 6.2 million Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions reduced the product’s carbon footprint by at least 90 percent.

Adobe sustainability efforts extend beyond our products and into the company’s workplace as well. More than 73 percent of Adobe’s employees work in LEED workplaces, and our employees achieved a 92 percent waste diversion rate by implementing recycling programs, greatly reducing our impact on the world’s oceans and landfills.

Adobe’s products also help customers make environmentally smart decisions. The 38 million Adobe Sign transactions made in 2015 saved 14 million pounds of wood and 43 million gallons of water from being used. In addition, Adobe products greatly reduced the need for business travel. 5.4 billion hours of Adobe Connect meetings reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 5.4 million tons due to avoided air travel.

These achievements move us one step closer to accomplishing the benchmarks we outlined last December when we joined the RE100 and announced our commitment to The White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Adobe is proud to be a part of these efforts and leading the way to a more sustainable future.

E-Signatures: Unsung Hero of the EU’s Digital Single Market

Posted by John Jolliffe, European Government Relations Lead, and Andrea Valle, Senior Product Manager for Document Cloud

When European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker launched the EU’s Digital Single Market programme back in 2015 it was issues like geo-blocking and the possible regulation of online platforms that attracted most of the media attention. But when it comes to actually creating a digital single market – removing the regulatory obstacles that prevent companies from doing business across borders – it’s the less glamorous and more technical work of the European Commission that is often more impactful.

Electronic Signatures are one such example. The new eIDAS Regulation, which comes into effect this July, will smooth away differences in the way different legal systems in Europe treat electronic signatures, harmonise technical standards and provide legal backing for new ways to use electronic signatures.

At Adobe we’re convinced that these new rules will help businesses, citizens and governments in the EU save time, cut costs, protect the environment and increase efficiency wherever processes require a signature. So today, in response to user feedback, we’re announcing some important new features that will not simply make sure our solutions comply with the new rules, but which we think will support the adoption of e-signatures in Europe:

Source of Trust

  • New indication of the “Source of trust” of PDF digital signatures: back in October 2015 we announced support for EU Trusted Lists, enabling users of the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software to verify signed documents based on certificates issued by providers accredited in the EU. Now Acrobat and Reader will also indicate whether a signature is trusted by a provider listed in the EU Trusted Lists, in the Adobe Authorized Trust List (AATL), or by some other trusted sources.
  • New indication of EU Qualified Certificates. Acrobat is now able to recognize EU Qualified Certificates, in line with new ETSI standards and to display the information in the Signature Properties, in line with the requirements of the eIDAS Regulation.
    A Qualified Certificate can only be issued by a Qualified Trust Service Provider according to standardized procedures aimed at verifying the identity of the subject to whom it is issued.
  • New indication of EU Qualified Electronic Signatures and Seals. An EU Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) is an advanced electronic signature based on a Qualified Certificate created by a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD).
    Adobe Acrobat is now able to recognize these elements and to indicate when both apply and that the signature is considered as Qualified.
    Similarly, when a signature is created with a Qualified Certificate for Seals, Acrobat will indicate a Qualified Electronic Seal to confirm that an electronic document was issued by a legal person.
  • Full support of the PAdES Baseline profiles in line with the latest ETSI standards. PAdES is a profile of PDF digital signatures created by ETSI, which ensures compliance with the eIDAS Regulation and improves the interoperability of electronic procedures.

We’re excited by these updates which, we think, will help eIDAS succeed where the 1999 e-Signature Directive failed and finally persuade businesses to move away from the analogue way of doing business – a “wet ink” signature on a piece of paper – and to embrace digital technology. Europe is only beginning to see what electronic signatures can do, and Adobe will be there with more updates and features in the future.

New EU e-government strategy: back-end wizardry, but where’s the citizen?

Posted by John Jolliffe, Head of EMEA Government Relations

In this blog we’ve frequently commented on the efforts governments are making across the world to transform their digital services. So naturally we were very interested to read the new EU e-government strategy, the latest policy document to see the light of day under the EU’s wider Digital Single Market strategy.

In many ways, it’s a good document. The overarching ambition – that “public administrations and public institutions in the European Union should be open, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, personalised, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and businesses in the EU” – is the correct one. And many of the underlying principles that flow from that objective – digital by default, inclusiveness and accessibility, trustworthiness and security – are absolutely the right ones.

Many of the 20 actions that the European Commission outlines in the rest of the strategy are also important ones: the promotion of full e-procurement (Action 1) the interconnection of national business registers (Action 9) and the cross-border exchange of Social Security information (Action 15) to name just a few, are worth achieving. This is the hard, unglamorous and often highly political work of interconnecting national legal and technical systems, which only the European Commission can undertake.

EXPERIENCE person holding a smartphone on blurred cityscape background

Many of these actions require extensive and indispensable CIO- or CTO-led back-end wizardry. What we would have liked to see more, of, however, is greater focus on the citizen as the end user of these services. For sure they are there as the implied beneficiary of all this good work. But more explicit recognition of the need to invest in the capability to properly understand citizen’s needs, and even give them a stake in defining those services, would be been a welcome addition.

Citizens increasingly expect governments to offer levels of digital engagement that are as compelling as the best commercial websites they see every day. Delivering that level of engagement, however, will require governments to think seriously about how they can apply best practices in user engagement from the private sector in a public sector context.

One example of where government can take a leaf out of the private sector book is by creating a government equivalent of the Chief Marketing Officer, a Chief Service Officer for government. The CSO’s role would be to act as a customer advocate within government and help shape government digital services to those needs as a counterweight to the top-down, IT-led vision of government digital services. The CSO would partner with the CIO to define technology needs and develop the systems for engaging with, and retaining, their customers using sophisticated tools to present and target digital content to different demographic needs in ways that consumers respond to, across all devices. Such a customer focus is, ultimately, key to making principles such as “digital by default” work and driving greater digital inclusion.

Adobe is keen to keep working with the EU, and other European governments, to inject this citizen-led approach into e-government practices. We think it’s the missing ingredient that makes the overall objective achievable. It’s a subject we’ll return to again as the EU programme unfolds.

Nothing But Net!

Scoring the winning points at a basketball game

Posted by Mike Dillon, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (as seen originally on mike’s blog)

I was with a friend last weekend (I’ll call her “Mom”) who was giving me some feedback about my blog. She said that she enjoys my writing, but encouraged me to cover things other than work. “How about something more interesting, like the Warriors?”, she asked.

Well, here’s my attempt to make her happy.

Northern California has once again fallen in love with a team. In this case it’s the Golden State Warriors who finished the season with a record .890 winning percentage and successfully redecorated the Bay Area in blue and gold.  And although I’m a huge fan of Curry & Co. there’s another local team that with little fanfare has amassed an even better record than the Warriors. They are an organization that plays with focus, intelligence and incredible defense. They are the group of talented individuals within our Adobe legal team and outside counsel who are positively kicking ass against patent trolls.

(Sorry, Mom. I tried.)

I’ve written for years about the blight to innovation and our economy resulting from the misuse of patent litigation. During my career, I’ve witnessed first-hand the waste, the judicial burden, the financial impact and job loss, resulting from the patent troll industry. (As an aside, I considered a new moniker other than “troll”, but ex-speaker John Boehner beat me to it.)

Eighteen months ago, I described Adobe’s approach when faced with these meritless claims – an approach that resulted in Adobe going 6 – 0 in cases against patent trolls. I wrote that blog not as a bit of chest pounding, but rather to encourage other companies to take the same aggressive response when faced with these lawsuits. Absent legislative action, it’s the only way to change the economics that favor patent trolls. (In that spirit, for all of you companies fighting this same battle, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help and share best practices.)

So how have we done since then?

  • In January 2015, after a 9-day trial, Adobe prevailed against Everyscape’s allegations that Adobe’s Photoshop product infringed two patents. The jury also invalidated the Everscape patents.
  • In July, 2015, the court dismissed with prejudice a suit originally brought by another patent troll, Blue Spike, against Adobe in the Eastern District Court of Texas in 2012.
  • That same month, Afluo dismissed its litigation against Adobe and its customers with prejudice after Adobe obtained a favorable ruling from the Patent and Trademark Appeals Board.
  • This was followed by Adobe prevailing against YYZ (seriously, patent trolls, please put at least a little effort in your names) in a summary judgment motion.
  • In February, 2016 Adobe had another summary judgement win  against Fo2Go, another patent troll.
  • Adobe won a summary judgment against Rosebud in February, 2015 and the lawsuit was dismissed, but Rosebud chose to appeal. In March, 2016 the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal putting to rest a battle that has spanned three lawsuits and 5 years of legal expenses.
  •  Grecia, another patent troll, filed a lawsuit against Adobe, but never served it on us and in March, 2016 the case was dismissed.
  • The following month, Adobe prevailed in another summary judgment motion against Collaborative Agreement, another patent troll.
  •  Around that same time, Genaville, who had sued over three dozen companies for patent infringement, with no payment, dismissed  its case against a customer Adobe had stepped in to protect.  Notably, almost all of the companies Genaville sued were users, and not manufacturers, of the alleged infringing product.
  • In the same month, the Federal Circuit affirmed a 2014 Adobe trial court win and invalidated the patents Digital Reg asserted against Adobe.
  • And, recently we’ve successfully prevailed against two other patent trolls on behalf of our customers, also in the Eastern District Court of Texas.

So, if you’re keeping track at home, that’s 18 wins for the Adobe Dream Team and 0 for the patent trolls.

To the “Dubs”, we wish you all the best in the NBA finals. But we know which team has the best record in the Bay Area.

 

Section 508 Updates Should Promote Harmonization of Accessibility Standards

room with open door to the meadow with green grass and glue sky

Posted by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Group Product Manager, Accessibility and Standards

Adobe has made it a priority to develop digital tools that are world class and support accessibility for people with disabilities. We work to provide accessibility features in our products and programs while encouraging developers to produce rich, engaging content that is accessible. As a global leader in the software industry, we take this responsibility very seriously because all people should be able to take advantage of digital technology – regardless of ability.

Adobe has taken a number of steps to make its products engaging for all users. Last year, Adobe released Acrobat DC and Reader DC with some significant new accessibility features, including assistive technology for reading PDF content on Mac OS X as well as improvements in the existing Windows support. For the first time, Mac users were able to use VoiceOver to create, edit and read accessible PDF documents.

Establishing and promoting accessibility standards is another important area in which we strive to set a forward-thinking example. For many years, Adobe has participated in the development of national policies and global accessibility standards efforts, including co-chairing the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) working group. Despite these efforts, there is still a great deal more to be done when it comes to establishing universal accessibility standards.

The U.S. federal government is in the process of updating its accessibility standards outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which aims to ensure that all of the federal government’s electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. To keep pace with evolving technology, Adobe expects that the United States Access Board will update its standards so that it is in line with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Such an update will help vendors ensure that all of their products meet the needs of as diverse a group of users as possible by adopting common criteria for developers as they build the next generation of technology. With WCAG 2.0 forming the basis of policies around the world – including, we expect, in the European Union’s proposed Directive on the Web Accessibility of Public Sector websites – it makes sense for the United States to follow suit and use WCAG 2.0 as the foundation of any legislative or administrative updates in the future.

An update is badly needed because many of the standards are no longer applicable to modern technology. The last time the standards were updated was in 2001 – almost seven years before the first iPhone. Since then, technology and the public’s expectations for efficient digital experiences have evolved greatly. Making matters more urgent, a recent surge of lawsuits against companies accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act has left much discretion up to the courts. Rather than leaving it to the courts to interpret the rules, greater guidance should be provided to companies.

When it comes to crafting effective accessibility standards, the goal is to empower and enable users with disabilities around the world and provide consensus standards for regulators to reference in new policies. Harmonizing accessibility standards across the globe is the key to maintaining a level playing field for all. Harmonization minimizes market confusion and allows companies with Global operations such as Adobe to deliver solutions which effectively address accessibility across markets.

At Adobe, we believe that different abilities should never limit opportunities. We will continue to create software solutions that can be used by as broad and diverse a range of people as possible, while working globally to establish accessibility policies adapted to our constantly changing world.

Moving Beyond Earth Day: A “Small” Change with Significant Impact

As seen originally on the Adobe Document Cloud blog

Posted by Vince Digneo, Global Sustainability Strategist

Every year, Earth Day marks an important milestone in the sustainability movement—rallying people, government and businesses around the world to focus on sustainability and preservation of the environment. Despite my appreciation for Earth Day, focusing so much attention on a single point in time carries risk—the risk that attention will be lost for the rest of the year.

So I’d like to help keep attention on sustainability beyond just today by sharing the impact of paper document use, the paperless practices some brands have implemented, the results they’re seeing, and where to start in your organization.

The Impact of Paper-based Practices 

Making paper requires tremendous amounts of wood, water and fossil fuels. Mashable discussed this point on Earth Day 2015, backed by data from the Clean Air Council and the EPA, with a great infographic. Here are some more quick facts:

  • The average U.S. office worker generates approximately 2 pounds of paper and paperboard products every day;
  • Among U.S. companies alone, 30 billion paper documents are printed or copied each year;
  • 500 paper documents are signed by the average authorized employee each year; and
  • Corrections, revisions and updates on printed documents contribute to 90 percent of all office waste in the U.S., and the remaining 10 percent is taking up space in storage facilities

To the extent we can keep more documents in the cloud and off the printer, the lower the impact directly on our environment, hence greater sustainability.

Adobe_EarthDay_Infographic[5]

Calculating the Impact 

Many brands want to operate more sustainably, but need to justify any move with a significant amount of data to support a reasonable return on investment (ROI). The good news is, there are means to estimate impacts based on specific actions and they’re far easier to implement than one might think.

For example, non-government organizations like the Environmental Paper Network and the Environmental Defense Fund have collaborated to provide an estimate of the environmental impact of paper-based practices. In partnership with them, we’ve posted it as our Resource Saver Calculator on Adobe.com. Although sustainability leaders understand that at times calculations made by such tools may be questioned by the paper industry and others, this calculator provides a set of impacts that drive home the point that reducing paper dependency can lead to measurable outcomes.

Forward-leaning companies typically pay more attention to sustainability than simply greenwashing their messages. Let’s look at some real-life ways Adobe and our customers are getting more sustainable by transitioning to digital from paper.

  • Documents created, signed, shared, and stored in Adobe Document Cloud drive a 90 percent cost savings and 91 percent reduction in environmental impact compared to paper-based processes.
  • In 2015 alone, the total transactions completed with Adobe eSign saved the equivalent of 14 million pounds of wood and 43 million gallons of water—at a cost savings of over $10.4 million (US). That’s significant.
  • In 2015, Adobe announced its commitment to power operations and digital delivery of products with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. We are committed to leading by example, encouraging our customers to move from paper- and resource-heavy processes to electronic signatures powered by renewable energy. Today Adobe’s Procurement and Legal teams are running on paperless processes and the success from their transition is creating adoption by other groups including People Resources (HR at Adobe) and IT.

Successful Sustainability Practices 

Examples of the impact of sustainable document management are everywhere. Take government, for example. The Washington Local Government Association reduced paper consumption by more than 50,000 printouts by moving to electronic signature workflows and supported sustainability goals by reducing paper consumption and printing supplies by more than 80 percent. The City and County of Denver improved sustainability practices by delivering contracts, agendas, and other documents as PDF files. And they lowered cost of ownership by reducing the number of software versions supported to a single license.

Using data from the Mashable article, if the U.S. alone cut its office paper use by just 10 percent by moving to digital workflows, it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 1.45 million metric tons. That’s the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for an entire year.

What Can You Do? 

Brands from large to small are taking sustainability seriously. Are you looking at ways to improve sustainability in your business or enterprise? You can start by examining how you can reduce the vast wood resources, water and fossil-based energy that paper production and waste demands.

A great place to start is by visiting environmentalpaper.org or EDF.org.