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Carbon footprint

Reducing our carbon footprint

From planning conferences and business travel to designing more efficient facilities and packaging, we continually work to improve our environmental performance. Two of the areas we focus on are our energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since those represent the most significant environmental impacts from our operations. Over the past several years we have made great strides in becoming more carbon-efficient. In fact, our carbon footprint is 38.1% smaller in absolute terms than the base year, fiscal year 2009.

Learn more about how we're improving our overall environmental performance across our company.

Employee travel and meetings

Since Autodesk is a global company, employee travel is vital to our business. We reduce travel by using virtual collaboration technologies when possible. But when travel is unavoidable, we encourage our travel vendors to improve their environmental performance, offer employees green travel tips and offer electric vehicle rentals in the San Francisco Bay area.

As part of a recently implemented strategic meetings management programme, we educate our meeting planners and the hotels we partner with about sustainability issues and industry standards.

Through this programme, we also measure the carbon impact of meeting-related travel and rate the hotels we use for accommodation and meetings in terms of energy use, waste management and water conservation, among other sustainability factors. During its first year, this programme saved Autodesk $1 million.

Eventually, we hope this programme will help us to set carbon budgets for meetings the same way we set financial budgets.


There are many ways we work to reduce the environmental footprint of our facilities, including the use of our own Sustainability Solutions to build and renovate sites. We now have 15 LEED certifications, representing 28% of our total square footage* and we purchase renewable energy for all of our LEED-certified spaces.

We recently opened our San Francisco Pier 9 workshop—a LEED-Platinum certified facility with a dedicated solar photovoltaic system. The power this system generates will save more than 43 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year compared with using standard utility power, the equivalent of planting more than 1,100 trees.

With this solar photovoltaic system in place, 30% of our global electricity consumption is now provided by renewable sources.

*As of 16 January 2014.

Major events

Each year, Autodesk participates in industry tradeshows and hosts conferences that attract tens of thousands of attendees. These events bring together people who share ideas about how to create a better world. However, they also impact the environment through GHG emissions from travel, energy use, lodging and materials use and waste.

In 2013, we expanded our sustainability approach for the Autodesk University (US site). As a result, we accelerated waste diversion initiatives, provided sustainable booth rental options, created a more sustainable menu, offered volunteer opportunities for attendees and held a drive to collect and donate surplus show materials, electronic equipment and signage.

See how we integrate sustainability into one of our largest annual conferences.

Data centres and IT operations

Data centres enable Autodesk to operate and host cloud-based tools, which are critical to the future of how our customers design. At the same time, data centres consume a significant amount of energy. We use server virtualisation to optimise the use of equipment and decrease the need to run and cool physical servers.

We also use the ENERGY STAR and Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) ratings systems to select hardware for our data centres and desktops and we're expanding our e-waste programmes to responsibly dispose of IT equipment when it reaches the end of its usable life.

In late 2011, Autodesk completed a major data centre upgrade (US site), achieving a 62% reduction in power usage.

Supply chain

Autodesk's supply chain includes manufacturing, assembling and delivering physical software media and powering electronic software downloads and cloud-based services.

Since the early 1990s, we have transformed AutoCAD from a bulky box full of manuals, disks and promotional material to a package weighing less than a sixth of a kilogram.

We now distribute our product suites on USB thumb drives in small, 100% recyclable boxes, made with recycled content. For the single-disk DVDs we sell in the Americas, we use Eco-Lite cases that contain 20 percent less plastic than standard DVD cases.

Of course, the greenest package is one that is never produced or shipped at all. We have increased the number of countries where electronic download is the default delivery option for subscription customers from 51 to 136 in the last year. This covers 69% of all the countries we serve.

During fiscal year 2014, customers downloaded about 675,000 products, representing 40% of all orders and reducing associated GHG emissions by nearly 500 metric tons CO2e.

Finding the right GHG emissions reduction target

In 2010, we introduced our Corporate-Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilising Targets (C-FACT) methodology.
C-FACT is a unique approach to help companies develop GHG emissions reduction targets. Learn more

See our FY14 Sustainability Report to learn more.