After considering problems associated with reconciling sustainability with a commitment to growth, the major environmental impacts of adhesive technology are discussed. Most adhesives come from fossil fuel sources, but many adhesive types can be produced from renewable resources either by traditional or newly developed routes. Significant energy usage in production and processing make energy conservation and renewable energy generation relevant to adhesive technology. Considerable improvements have been made by the replacement of volatile organic compounds in pretreatments and as solvents by aqueous systems, and more remains to be done. It is important to consider the total environmental impact of the engineering context in which the adhesive is to be used: adhesive technology may give improved engineering efficiency in the traditional sense of the term, and also lower environmental impact.