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Education, enablement, and friendly competition deliver sustainable outcomes

Headshots of Autodesk Sustainability Leaders

Autodesk’s Sustainability Leaders.

Achieving sustainability is a challenge that can only be won through collaboration. At Autodesk, this means involving everyone, not just people with “sustainability” in their titles. Our sales and customer success teams have big roles to play too. They work together to identify our customers’ desired business outcomes and the tools needed to achieve them.

As we shared in our annual Impact Report, more and more companies are aligning their growth goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And Autodesk acts as a strategic partner, bringing forward solutions to help deliver those results.

To learn more about how Autodesk enables employees to deliver sustainable outcomes, read our full Impact Report here.

Last year, we launched Making the Future, an incentive program that rewards Autodesk sales and customer success teams for helping customers achieve their sustainability goals. We also initiated the Sustainability Leader GOAL Program, which helps our employees develop the knowledge and skills to support customers on their sustainability journeys. I recently sat down with Senior Sustainability Success Manager Tony Saracino to chat about these programs. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

“It’s become imperative for us to lead our industry and have a broader view that goes beyond profit, to also consider the environment and social good.” – Luz María Vásquez Gómez, Senior Manager, Latin America Technical Sales

Steve: Tony, the feedback I’ve gotten on the Making the Future program has been overwhelmingly positive. Folks really enjoy the team environment, and they like recognition for being trusted advisors in a very important space. This connection to purpose matters to our employees. What’s some of the feedback you’ve received?

Tony: What’s interesting about this contest is that it’s not just our biggest customers with winning projects. We’ve seen it from all areas because we have so many people adding value. Our salespeople speak to customers about sustainability in a meaningful way; Technical sales understand how to implement solutions; and customer success teams really understand the organizations we partner with. As you said, Steve, the team approach is critical to sustainability.

Steve: It’s a total team sport. This really is not a sales competition. It’s a sustainability competition, and everyone’s in the game. The big standout for 2020 was Katrina Urbanik AS, which also won an AEC Excellence Award last year. They built an entirely self-sufficient floating island that generates its own energy and grows its own food. The structure is beautiful and environmentally clean. And this project met five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They covered so much of what the program is about.

Self-sufficient urban development in Norway. 

This self-sufficient urban development in Norway includes flexible housing, recreation, innovative greenhouses, large sloping roofs covered in solar panels, and workshops filled with 3D printers.

Tony: And it spanned so much of what Autodesk promises to our customers. They had to prefabricate a lot of building components to ship to this remote location. It checked boxes across the entire project lifecycle, from design to construction. It really showcases how Autodesk’s complete platform can help customers with their sustainability goals, as well as their day-to-day business.

“This is our chance to invest in skills, grow our pipeline and drive customer conversations on the subjects they care about. Having recently completed the sustainability training myself, I am proud to join my colleagues who are leading the way for all of us.” – Walter Dopplmair, VP, EMEA Territory Sales

Steve: You obviously know a lot about the Sustainability Leader GOAL Program. How would you say this program engages our teams to drive more sustainable outcomes for customers?

Tony: Applying sustainability goals to projects requires deep knowledge. We need our sales and customer success teams to be experts in this area. This program is a skills-building pathway that gives our employees the opportunity to gain this essential knowledge. And it’s voluntary. In the past nine months, we’ve had over 200 people participate. One key takeaway is that sales and customer success people learn best from each other. We had a team in India helping a team in Brazil. They were able to talk about their approach and objectives. They could share the solutions and how they best resonated with their customers. This program is starting to give them a new language to approach their customers with.

Autodesk Sustainability Leader, Aaron Vorwerk 

“I am proud to serve as an Autodesk Sustainability Ambassador in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability is woven into Autodesk’s DNA, and we are fortunate to have the privilege of equipping others to do “more, better, with less”.” – Aaron Vorwerk, Senior Manager, Building Technical Marketing

Steve: Our sales and customer success teams need to feel secure in their own sustainability knowledge before they can have those conversations with customers. Folks will hesitate to bring up areas that they don’t feel comfortable talking about. It’s so encouraging to see our people building this confidence.

Tony: And Steve, you’re leading by example and telling people that impact is important in their jobs. It resonates with them. That’s made my team’s job so much easier. We can connect with people who are already aware that these values are important.

Steve: Thanks, Tony. People want to feel like they can make an impact, beyond just financial metrics. We have amazingly talented people on our team because they care about the big picture. Our customers are going to rely on us more and more for the toolsets and guidance to reach those sustainable outcomes. This will be one of the key stimulants of growth for our business.