Towards Net Positive Impact: A Glimpse into the Sustainable Future

By Asheen

Corporate Knights Global 100At the World Economic Forum at Davos recently, ratings agency Corporate Knights announced their Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations list from a more than 4,000-company starting universe, and we are excited to be ranked #5. We’re proud of this ranking, but as I’ll explain in this post, we measure our own sustainability progress a bit differently — not as being the most environmentally efficient, as the Global 100 emphasizes, but in being the most sustainably innovative.

This is no sour grapes — we are pretty environmentally efficient. Our high ranking on the Global 100 is based largely on our environmental productivity scores, such as Carbon Productivity, which is a measure of how much revenue we generate per unit of carbon, and the similarly derived Energy Productivity.

Airplane engine exhaust

We enjoy a bit of a sector bump, as software companies generally make a lot of money from limited environmental capital — I often joke that our supply chain consists of electricity and coffee! — but in our case, our Carbon Productivity (revenue per unit carbon) is 75% higher than the next-best software company, and our Energy Productivity is 20% higher. This means that we’re squeezing more value from the environmental resources we consume — which in our case is mainly gasoline, jet fuel and electricity for our travelers and our developers.

But we don’t think this is the end of our story. With more than 175,000 companies designing, engineering, simulating, manufacturing, storing and searching their products on our 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we have the potential to influence a far greater swath of the world’s environmental footprint than that from our own operations. As we build sustainable innovation tools into our Apps and Experiences, these will make the planes you fly in, the vehicles you drive, the clothes you buy and the devices you communicate with more sustainable. Through sustainable innovation, we can “move the needle” on a scale far greater than our own footprint, creating a positive impact that Greg Norris of Harvard University calls a “handprint“.

Handprint

So if our positive handprint outweighs our negative footprint — we’re convinced it does, but we’re doing some work now to back this up — then Dassault Systèmes will be a net positive organization. That is, the world will be better off with our company serving it.

As our CEO Bernard Charlès said in a recent interview, “A product exists within nature, its components come from nature, and it will likely, eventually, decompose back into the natural world.  How much a part of the natural world is it?  How much does creating it, using it, and disposing of it distort or damage the natural world around it?  How much energy does it require across this entire life cycle?  We try to develop solutions to help our customers explore these questions so that they can make the most informed, sustainable decisions possible.”

This is the extent of our sustainable innovation vision: to rank highly not just on sustainable indices, but on the scale of society, the economy, and the biosphere, by helping our customers achieve a positive environmental impact on the planet and grow their own businesses sustainably.

Asheen PhanseyAsheen PHANSEY is Head of Sustainable Innovation Lab for Dassault Systèmes

 

Marketing Wind Farms to Local Population in the age of Experience Economy

By Karun

Wind turbines farm on sunset in winterNowadays, offshore wind is grabbing most of the headlines especially in Europe. With several countries running out of land for wind turbines, they are looking towards the sea. However, 80% of the wind energy capacity is still from onshore or inland wind farms. There is still plenty of land in countries like the US and Brazil, which are still looking to develop their onshore wind capacity.

Onshore wind farms occupy a large area and have to frequently co-exist with agricultural land and tourist areas in the countryside. Probably the most complex challenge for these wind farms is to overcome any opposition from the local population. The question that most Wind farm developers have is – How to convince the local population of socio-environmental viability of the Wind farms?

In this era of the Experience economy, the solution is to provide a platform for all citizens to fully understand the impact on their day-to-day life. An immersive and interactive virtual 3D environment can be used to demonstrate the operation of wind farms in context of the local terrain including the details like access roads, local dwellings, roads and even power lines. Views from various vantage points can be analyzed to ensure that any visual impact from the wind turbines is acceptable. Advanced functions like noise and shadow flickers could be developed on this platform. By experiencing the operation of the wind farm under various operating conditions, citizens can be convinced about the project viability and convince them of the co-existence of wind farms in the existing land.

Such user interaction enables citizens and consumers to become part of the Wind farm development process promoting a sense of ownership. It allows the project developers to connect with the local population and ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed. With the advent of social media, citizens have learnt to express themselves more freely. In several countries, citizens expect and even demand such a platform to view and collaborate on a social platform on such key topics that touch their lives.

Getting early buy-in from all stakeholders including the local population is mandatory during the project development process. This will ensure that there are no expensive delays to the project. Such delays significantly affect the margins and ROI and significantly alter the economics.

Such Experience platforms are frequently used in the other industries like Offshore Oil & gas for Operations and Maintenance and training. Can the Wind industry take advantage of this?

To learn more, go to Energy, Process & Utilities page and watch our video:

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Karun CHAKRAVARTHY is a member of the Energy, Process & Utilities (EPU) team

 

How new technologies can help assess impact of wind energy projects on the local population

By Karun

The Wind Energy industry is at an inflection point. There is a tremendous opportunity for renewable energy in general, and specifically Wind energy, as can be envisaged by the ambitious plans for countries like Germany, UK, China, India and several others.

The key to a Wind farm project success is to start on the right foot, by identifying the right site. Many companies identify the site based on technical factors (such as wind speed data, grid connectivity), economic factors (ROI, tax credits, feed-in tariff) and political factors (local regulations and political support) and even environment factors (e.g. bird migration paths) are assessed and validated during the siting phase. However, what is often underestimated or even overlooked is the social dimensionassessing the impact of the projects on the local population, who are both citizens impacted by the project and also potentially consumers of the power produced. These factors can add considerable risk to the project and needs to be included as part of the project development process in order to avoid expensive delays that can fundamentally affect the economics of the project.  There can be significant opposition to Wind energy among the communities where Wind farms will be located. Among the main concerns are noise, effects of health, visual impact and adverse effects to wildlife.

One of the innovative ways to achieve this is to use advanced analytics to capture and analyze the sentiments of the local population. Such innovative techniques are commonly used by consumer driven companies (like Consumer Good and Consumer Product Good industries) as a way to capture the voice of customer very early in the project. The analytics can assess the sentiments of the local population by analyzing what is being said from various sources – like media authored or followed by local media and local influences (such as blogs). Such analysis can identify regions where there could potentially be opposition to wind energy and also identify risks for the project stakeholders.

Several stakeholders from project developers, financers, owners / operators have considerable stake tied up in the projects and can least afford any expensive delays during the construction phase due to opposition from local population. Ideally, such issues should be identified and accounted in the site selection during project development.

To learn more, go to http://www.3ds.com/industries/energy-process-utilities/wind-power/

Watch our video:

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Karun CHAKRAVARTHY is a member of the Energy, Process & Utilities Industry team

 



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Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.