Autodesk Is Striving for Circular Economy and Helping Its Value Chain Do the Same

Circular stairs

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by | Nov 4, 2022

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Autodesk, Inc. is an international software producer targeting the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, education, and entertainment. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 1982 and produced computer-aided software or CAD. It is used primarily to design, draft, and model buildings. Tesla used its software too. Autodesk Product Design Suite is a digitized tool that allows users to visualize, simulate, and analyze the real-world performance of any prospective building. The company is considered one of the most sustainable enterprises worldwide and is on a drive to develop a circular economy.

“From greener buildings to cleaner cars, smarter factories to bigger blockbusters, Autodesk technology is used by millions of people to design and make millions of things that impact billions of lives,” the company says.

“We envision a low-carbon future with minimal pollution and waste, where renewable energy powers our world and materials maintain value while cycling through a circular economy,” it adds. “Autodesk remains steadfast in our commitment to advance sustainable business practices toward net-zero carbon emissions. We have an even more crucial role to play in equipping our customers and other innovators to better understand the impact of design and make decisions on energy and materials use in the context of other objectives, enabling them to make choices that benefit their companies and the world.”

How does Autodesk plan to hit its net-zero targets?

The company has neutralized its greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and value chain for two years through its carbon fund.” The fund is created by applying an internal price on carbon across the companys Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. It will grow from $10 a ton in 2022 to $20 in 2023. “This increase will enable us to realize new emission reduction initiatives within our operations and value chain and reinforces our commitment to carbon neutrality amidst the increasing costs of certified renewable energy certificates and high-quality carbon offsets.”

The company first committed to net-zero targets in 2021, and it has agreed to use Science Based Target initiatives. That is, its climate goals are grounded in the latest science and aligned to a 1.5C climate trajectory. 

The aspirations: 

— 100% renewable energy powering our facilities, cloud services, and employee work from home by 2021, which it achieved. 

— 26.5% of suppliers for purchased goods and services and business travel, by emissions, will have science-based targets by 2027. It is 25% of the way there. 

— 50% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 2031, compared to 2020. It is 37% of the way there. 

— 25% minimum reduction in Scope 3 GHG emissions per dollar of gross profit by 2031, compared to 2020. It is 67% of the way there. 

It says its carbon footprint is 103,000 tons of CO2 equivalents. Procurement makes up 88% of that. Its cloud and data centers are just 2%. 

How are your products and services helping the building sector reduce emissions and achieve a circular economy? 

The buildings sector represents 38% of global energy and process-related greenhouse gas emissions. Of that 28% comes from operational energy consumption, and 10% is the result of the buildings construction industry. It says that managing raw materials is essential, especially as the worlds population grows and becomes more urbanized. It says the construction industry will need to build 13,000 new buildings every and 700,000 miles of road per year — over the next 30 years. 

“To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, all new buildings and 20% of the existing building stock would need to be zero-carbon-ready as soon as 2030,” says Autodesk. “This goal requires spending to triple by 2030 relative to the last half-decade averages.”

It says a critical piece of the puzzle empowers architects and engineers to design more energy-efficient buildings using advanced software tools. Cloud-based tools allow them to visualize prospective structures. For example, HVAC systems are often the most significant source of energy use, making it essential to right-size them — something that saves money and prevents CO2 releases. 

How do your products and services benefit the manufacturing sector and the circular economy? 

About 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the manufacturing sector. But as the world’s population grows, so too will the demand for such things as cars and refrigerators. That will double energy use over 30 years, it says.

Because materials are the primary factor driving the design and manufacturing of goods, the company seeks to reduce use and waste in its drive toward a fully circular economy. Making products lighter, for example, goes a long way to cutting energy use. So does the use of sustainable materials such as recycled and renewable content. Therefore, Autodesk is developing more circular product designs or goods that can be reused or recycled. 

“By using approaches such as digital twins and AI-assisted predictive maintenance, manufacturers can optimize factory layout and operations. In sectors such as transportation, automotive, and aerospace, designing lighter-weight products utilizing generative design and other innovative technology can reduce the energy consumption of products in use,” Autodesk says. 

It says that manufacturing companies collectively could realize revenue of $338 billion from new sustainable products and services in the near and medium terms. It will come from branding efforts and increased sales and reduced energy costs. 

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