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Autodesk Ranked #1 of 100 Public Companies for its GHG Target-Setting Methodology (“C-FACT”)

By Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Head of Sustainability Solutions, and Aniruddha Deodhar, Building Program Manager, Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk, This blog first appeared on In the Fold December 18, 2013

As co-authors of Autodesk’s Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets (“C-FACT”), Ani Deodhar and I were deeply honored to receive the #1 rank in the world’s first science-based carbon rating by Climate Counts. The rankings were based on a collaborative study between Climate Counts and the Center for Sustainable Organizations that analyzed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 100 companies against science-based targets that seek to limit climate change to 2o Celsius (3.6o Fahrenheit).

“Climate Counts is honored to recognize Autodesk for emerging as the #1 company in our latest review of corporate emissions performance.   Autodesk has demonstrated tremendous leadership in shaping corporate sustainability metrics to be more grounded in science.  Employees of Autodesk should be proud of the work being done by their sustainability team,” said Mike Bellamente, executive director, Climate Counts. Image courtesy of Climate Counts

When we set out to develop a greenhouse gas reduction target for Autodesk back in 2009, we were disillusioned with what passed as “best practice” of the day. With the scientific and policy trends pointing to increasing and unprecedented levels of consensus on the scale of global emissions reductions, corporate GHG reduction strategies were non-transparent, non-standard and non-verifiable. A bit like the Wild West, the domain lacked law, scrutiny and was full of somewhat “aimless shooting”.

We agree with the rating’s authors that “allocating a fair and proportionate share of the global climate change mitigation burden to an individual company is not for the faint of heart”. C-FACT took many months to develop, and we would never have succeeded without the inspiration of Chris Tuppen at BT and the meticulousness of Rich Baltimore at Deloitte.

The work paid off when I spent an hour of thoroughly enjoyable debate with our CEO on the merits of the methodology, Carl Bass, after which he approved it through the year 2020, an incredibly long-range goal for a technology company. We then decided to make the methodology freely available and open source so that other companies could benefit from the intensive effort and tailor it as desired. Since that time, those in our Facilities, IT, and Travel departments have ensured Autodesk meets the annual targets derived from C-FACT each and every year.

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Autodesk has committed to reducing its carbon emissions per dollar contribution to GDP by 9.08% year over year through 2020.

Fittingly, I’m happy to announce today that we have recently tailored the methodology for use by city governments, which tell us they also struggle with many of the same challenges we saw in 2009 in the corporate sector. We will make that tool (“City Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets”) available free-of-charge in early 2014.

Hear Mike Bellamente (Executive Director of Climate Counts) discuss the rankings, how Autodesk captured the top position, and the future for the ranking program [4:20 minutes]

Hear Emma Stewart discuss key factors in Autodesk’s corporate sustainability efforts, including the company’s methodology for setting Green House Gas Reduction targets – a methodology, as she explains, is now open source [9:21 minutes]

About the authors,

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Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Head of Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk

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Aniruddha Deodhar, Building Program Manager, Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk

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