United States: Q&A With Vince Digneo, Sustainability Strategist, Corporate Responsibility, Adobe Systems

EDGE: Adobe has adopted some fairly aggressive sustainability and renewable energy commitments. Can you tell us about the origins and evolution of those commitments?

MR. DIGNEO: Adobe's founders created a culture of sustainability. They figured out, early on, that reducing waste, minimizing water consumption and saving energy were not just the right things to do, they are good for business. So, setting meaningful sustainability goals is part of our culture. A good example of this is Adobe's response to the California Energy Crisis in 2001. At that time the company's leadership decided to voluntarily reduce electricity consumption with a goal of 20%. Adobe beat this goal through energy efficiency projects and saved a lot of operational costs in the process. Since 2002, close to 200 sustainability and efficiency projects have been implemented, with payback periods generally less than about 18 months. At the end of 2015, 73% of all Adobe employees are working in LEED certified workspaces, with our sites in San Jose and San Francisco as LEED platinum certified. Last year, we set the goal that Adobe will power all of its operations and digital delivery of products with 100% renewable energy by 2035. However, we expect the vast majority of our footprint will be powered by renewable energy between 2020 and 2025. A lot of that is centered in the U.S., with interesting opportunities emerging in India. For the rest, the last few miles getting to 100%, that will be the most challenging. We are working with our data center and cloud suppliers to also commit to a low-carbon economy. In addition, we are engaging with local utilities, governments and NGOs to move policy in a direction where not just Adobe gets renewable energy, but the people in our community can also enjoy the benefits of having clean air and paying lower utility rates.

EDGE: Adobe's energy demand is not as great as that of major data center companies like Google and Apple. But you have been a champion for corporate purchasing of renewable energy. What is driving your leadership in this area?

MR. DIGNEO: True, we are not at the same scale as Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others. But we have to thank them for moving the market forward. Those companies had the wherewithal and the commitment to move the energy markets towards renewable energy. They were able to make large purchases driving down the cost of grid-scale renewables. Doing so, they made it possible for us to set renewable energy goals for our operations and digital delivery of our business in a way that makes business sense. That said, we feel very strongly about working with our peers in this space regardless of their size. Our commitment goes beyond energy usage to advocacy and influencing policy. We think it makes economic and environmental sense for everyone in our industry, and we know the importance of doing everything we can to take that path.

EDGE: Looking to the future - what is Adobe's strategy for purchasing renewable energy?

MR. DIGNEO: There are four elements of our renewable energy strategy. Energy efficiency is first, because without it you would not enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), or provision onsite renewable energy, unless you have a good handle on your energy efficiency and the reductions you can expect to achieve over the next five to ten years. You need to have a good idea of a forecast for 15 years out.

The second piece would be to implement onsite renewable energy wherever possible. As an example, a few years back we installed wind turbines at our headquarters in San Jose. It was a forward-thinking move, but they do not produce the amount of renewable energy that we need onsite, given the limitations of our footprint. In other locations, including our sites in Lehi, Utah and in India, we have more options that we are looking at for onsite. I think we have some other opportunities in the U.S. with that as well.

The third piece is working with our peers, with NGOs, policy makers, local governments, and especially utilities and regulators to help support policies favoring aggregation and utility supply. Rather than us bearing the sole burden of having to put onsite solar or purchasing a PPA for an Adobe site, the goal would be to partner with local utilities in order to spread the benefits to local communities where we work and live.

Then finally comes the PPA. We are actively exploring them for our operations in the West, where there are a lot more options than there were even a year ago. In India, we are quite close to finalizing a PPA within the next year. We feel strongly about the importance of demonstrating that renewable energy is an excellent business decision.

EDGE: When evaluating potential projects and PPAs, what are the primary considerations you are looking at?

MR. DIGNEO: We always start by evaluating the ROI. There are several complexities of PPAs along with the ever-changing market. Not only has pricing been falling every quarter, PPA contracts have been getting more complex. Considering a PPA should be easy – a clean process without the guesswork. One of the main benefits is stabilizing costs, so it needs to be easy to communicate to management.

EDGE: Thinking about corporate purchasing of renewable energy more generally, for companies with energy loads similar to yours, are there recommendations or advice that you would offer to energy managers embarking on this process?

MR. DIGNEO: I would suggest taking advantage of the resources and groups that are out there. One group we have been involved with since 2013 – we were founding members – is Business for Social Responsibility's Future of Internet Power Group, a group focusing on powering internet products with renewable energy, including peer companies such as Facebook, Salesforce, HP-Enterprise, Symantec and eBay. In addition, we are also members of the Rocky Mountain Institute's Business Renewables Center (BRC), and work with other NGOs, including World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund. These groups provide an array of resources for companies to use – so they aren't approaching this alone.

One easy step I recommend is to sign onto the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers' Principles which is a function of the BRC and now expanded to the Renewable Energy Business Alliance (REBA) along with the NGOs mentioned above. More than anything, it is a commitment to do everything possible to power your business using renewable energy. Another step would be to reach out to peer companies to share ideas and best practices. No one entity has all of the answers, but together we can find them. Finally, bringing in the right experts, firms like yours and outside groups can help you become a partner with the utilities and local governments. It all comes down to collaboration.

EDGE: Great, thanks very much Vince.

MR. DIGNEO: Glad to participate with EDGE, thank you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.