Autodesk Walks Its Talk: Reduces Emissions 34 Percent Since 2009

Autodesk mission to a more sustainable worldAutodesk opened its doors 31 years ago with the now ubiquitous AutoCAD software, starting a revolution in computer-aided design and modeling. Since that time the company has changed the face of building and industrial design, infrastructure modeling, media production and more. There is likely not a movie you’ve seen lately that has not utilized Autodesk software, or some aspect of an urban landscape close by that was not planned, modeled and built using Autodesk tools.

What I’ve learned in my several years of following the company and getting to know many of its key players is that Autodesk is much more than just a purveyor of high-tech design tools. The mission of the company is to empower innovative thinking and help lead the way for sustainable manufacturing, building design and urban development – to help build a better world.

Autodesk recently released their fifth sustainability report, focusing on the company’s environmental and social impacts during FY13. Over the past year, the company increased its revenue 4 percent while its carbon footprint was down by 8 percent year over year. Some highlights from the report include:

  •  Autodesk reduced its carbon footprint by 8 percent YOY, or 34 percent over base year (FY09) to 56,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The company is on target to meet its climate stabilizing target set with C-FACT.
  • The amount of renewable energy used by the company increased to 30 percent globally and more renewable energy, totaling 11,900 megawatt hours (MWh) in FY13, compared with 6,140 MWh the prior year.
  • This year, Autodesk established a human rights policy that describes how it promotes human rights amongst employees, suppliers and business partners, and customers. Additionally, the company became a signatory and published its first communication on progress to the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative that outlines 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anticorruption.
  • Since 2010, more than 1 million students and educators have accessed the Sustainability Workshop, a site dedicated to teaching the basics of sustainable design.
  • Provided thousands of companies across 27 countries with world-class software to design, visualize, and simulate their groundbreaking ideas through the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program.
  • Contributed more than $2,849,000 in cash donations to community organizations; matched $256,000 in employee donations; and provided $2,600,000 value in product donations.  Autodesk employees logged 6,000 hours volunteering at schools, food banks, animal shelters, and other organizations and participating in walks, runs, bike rides, and other events to benefit communities worldwide.

The message from CEO Carl Bass emphasizes Autodesk’s commitment to “help the global community of people who are, right now, creating a better world.”

These words might ring hollow were it not for the fact that Bass and his team truly walk the talk.

Image credit: Parsons Brinkerhoff (developers of the Seattle City Model in partnership with Autodesk)


Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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