Earlier this month, I had the honor of representing Autodesk alongside thousands of global climate leaders in Madrid for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25). This annual meeting assembles representatives from the world’s governments to negotiate how to operationalize the Paris Climate Agreement, with the collective goal of preventing global temperatures from increasing beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This year at COP25, in addition to representing Autodesk, I also served as a delegate of the U.S. Climate Action Center (USCAC) coordinated by We Are Still In. Alongside colleagues from Microsoft, Target, Mars and others, we demonstrated that American businesses remain United for the Paris Agreement. We took part in bilateral meetings with ambassadors from other countries and U.S. Senate staffers to hear their perspectives, reaffirm support and commitments to the Paris Agreement, and call for continued action.
At Autodesk, the most positive impact we can have is to support our customers with technology to help them design sustainably. And we need to model sustainable design by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our own operations.
Learn more on policy, innovation and infrastructure from Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost
But action by private industry alone isn’t enough. We cannot meaningfully address climate change, or be competitive in the low-carbon economy, without significant government action.
As a company, with our customers, and with governments, we’ve been busy this year making progress on climate change:
- Committing Autodesk to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2020: In 2009, Autodesk led the industry with one of the first science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets and made the approach open-source to help our customers and partners adopt this new best practice. We are meeting this goal by reducing our carbon footprint by 43% over 2009. We have powered our business and cloud with renewable energy since 2016. Last month at AU, we announced our commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions starting in FY21. We will attain this goal by applying our internal price on carbon to enable greater efficiency, continued investment in renewable energy, and partnership with customers to create innovative carbon offset and sequestration projects.
- Calling for Net-Zero Emissions with CFOs from Around the Globe: Earlier this week, Autodesk CFO Scott Herren, along with multiple other global CFOs, signed on to a net-zero emissions statement of support organized by Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), an organization established by Prince Charles in 2004 to inspire action by finance leaders to encourage resilient business models and a sustainable economy.
- Continuing Investment in Technology to Help Customers Cut Carbon: We further facilitated carbon measurement and sustainability through technology for our customers. An important example was serving as a lead sponsor and key developer of the Embodied Carbon Calculator (EC3) tool, launched just last month at Greenbuild. The EC3 tool, integrated with Autodesk BIM360 enables the building industry to easily access and view embodied carbon emissions data for their materials choices, allowing them to make carbon-smart choices during material specification and procurement.
- Advocating for Keeping the US in the Paris Agreement: In 2015, at COP21, 197 countries committed to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change. Last month, President Trump formally notified the UN that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. In response, our CEO Andrew Anagnost, along with more than 70 other CEOs and the AFL-CIO, signed on to the United For the Paris Agreement declaration, urging the United States to remain in the Agreement and continue the work on its climate goals.
- Supporting Carbon Pricing and Reductions in Carbon Emissions: In May, we joined with other US business leaders to urge Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation, including setting a price on carbon. This LEAD on Carbon Pricing event was the largest business gathering on sustainability on Capitol Hill in over a decade. Autodesk also joined major investors and companies in calling on the Massachusetts government to commit to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, the state of New Hampshire to support clean energy public policies, and supporting a new market-based policy to create a clean, equitable and efficient transportation system in the Northeast. .
See our progress and sustainable commitments in our FY19 Sustainability Report.
I continue to be inspired by the sophistication and dedication to climate action from our customers, partners, and employees around the globe. Together, we know that addressing climate change is essential for economic health, creating decent jobs, and ensuring the competitiveness of our companies and our country. Coming out of COP25, it is clear that additional policy, progress, and innovations are sorely needed. Lending our voice on these topics lets policy makers know that climate action is good for business and further enables Autodesk and our customers to meet our collective climate change and business goals.
See you at COP26 in Glasgow.