Tom Raftery of Greenmonk doesn’t mince his words. In a devastating indictment of Adobe’s sustainability efforts he concludes:
So, if a company of Adobe’s size and success can get away with such a passing regard for sustainability – are companies who take corporate responsibility seriously like SAP, BT and IBM wasting their time and energy?
This is something I have been concerned about for some time. Reporting is one thing as are the setting of goals and targets. Here, Adobe figures at no. 16 in Newsweek’s green rankings. Execution is quite another matter altogether.
Last week I tuned into Jeremiah Stone’s sustainability webcast to SAP Mentors. It was a great trot through what SAP is up to internally but to me fell short. I want SAP to go well beyond reporting solutions. I want it to offer solutions that actively help companies reduce their carbon footprint and engage in sustainable business practices. To me that’s where the focus of attention really needs to be put. Jeremiah says ‘watch this space.’ OK – but for how long?
In arriving at his conclusion Tom levies four charges at the company including:
A more trivial example, but as I reported a few weeks back, Adobe charge more for downloadable, soft copies of their software, than they do for physical shipped product (which includes carbon associated with media, packaging and transportation)! This wouldn’t be allowed to happen in a company with any focus whatsoever on Sustainability.
This is something with which we can all identify and should be readily fixed by simple business processes. More crudely, a simple IF>THEN>ELSE statement in a database somewhere would solve the problem. Is Adobe working on this?
The broader question though is whether Tom is correct. One reading would say that Tom’s struggling to find evidence is just that – a lack of evidence. But if Tom is correct then his point about time and money wasting is only the tip of the iceberg.
If business is to be truly sustainable then that has to be applied in the supply chain. I’m keenly aware this is far from trivial but it does mean that managements will be faced with tough choices.
In this case for example and assuming Tom is right, then what does it say about SAP and Adobe’s relationship? Adobe is a strong supporter of SAP community efforts. Several Mentors are Adobe employees. They’re fine citizens who I both trust and admire. But is that enough to outweigh what Tom sees?
What do you think? Has Tom uncovered something that deserves putting under the spotlight or is it an execution issue?