Autodesk, Inc has launched its newest research report in collaboration with Frost & Sullivan, Enabling a Sustainable Future through Digitalisation: Trends driving the Design & Manufacturing and Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries in APAC. The report surveys companies across architecture, engineering, construction, design and manufacturing (AEC and D&M) industries to determine current factors driving sustainability across Asia Pacific.
Nearly half (40%) of Indian companies surveyed mentioned sustainability as an important part or cornerstone of their business strategy, while 64% of them have stated that sustainability is part of their leadership’s formal strategic vision, purpose and/ or company goals. The findings also show sustainability initiatives are gathering pace in the region, with the key drivers being regulation and market forces (92%), investor relations (87%), and competitive advantage (80%).
APAC is a significant contributor to climate change
The massive impact on climate change, driven by the increasing consumption in energy and materials, is accelerating the demand for sustainability across the AEC and D&M sectors.
APAC now contributes 53% of global GHG emissions, producing 18.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 - more than the cumulative emissions from the rest of the world. India, collectively with China and Indonesia, contributed 76% of the total CO2 emissions in 2018 alone. Manufacturing and construction, and the building industry account for 17% and 4% GHG emissions in APAC respectively. For the world to progress towards the net zero goal, it is necessary for these sectors to change how they approach sustainability.
Governments across APAC are pledging to contribute to sustainability while balancing the imperative of economic growth. However, progress has been uneven with the region struggling to suppress the increase of GHG emissions driven by high economic growth.
In India, green investment and sustainability are a priority in public policy, with renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon transport central to the government’s initiatives to tackle climate change. For instance, the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) focuses on reducing Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) in industries.
In the local automotive sector, 25% of the curb weight of passenger and commercial vehicles will be from recycled materials by 2030. Net-zero buildings, and the usage of alternative or sustainable materials are also major sustainability trends among property developers. Though environmental social, and governance (ESG) reporting is not mandatory in all countries today, India has implemented new sustainability-related reporting requirements for the top 1,000 listed companies by market capitalisation by FY2023.
Digital adoption is a critical enabler for sustainability
Increasing requirements for compliance with mandates and regulations related to energy consumption and emissions reductions requires increased monitoring, measuring, reporting and verification - which data can provide. Digitalisation will reduce project implementation timelines and enable data analytics that would help in process refinements and compliance with governance protocols.
Moreover, increasing adoption of digital technologies would increase sustainability in the manufacturing and AEC segment in APAC, where several initiatives are already underway. For instance, the Government of India has implemented initiatives such as Green Corridors and Make in India supported by Industry 4.0, to encourage the private sector to utilise digital tools to meet their sustainability goals.
According to Rajeev Mittal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Autodesk, efficient and structured management of data is important to achieving sustainability goals, highlighting the need for increased digital adoption. Technology can support businesses to reduce GHG emissions and waste, and accelerate the design and make of safer, healthier and more resilient products and places.
“Digital technologies are providing a bridge to approach sustainability challenges in a new way. For example, key environmental issues such as climate change, resource depletion, and environmental protection are being addressed through digital solutions. For example, Bangalore International Airport’s usage of building information modelling (BIM) enabled the team to make more informed decisions using data, resulting in increased construction efficiency and reduced cost. Fewer mistakes also meant low materials wastage and less negative impact on the environment.”
“Two major challenges organisations face in their journey towards sustainability is the lack of skills and resources, which are being compounded by the ageing of assets. Digital adoption is the key to overcoming these challenges and is a critical enabler for sustainability, but it is still massively underleveraged,” said Mittal.
According to Mittal, as a developing nation that is at the forefront of the global fight against climate change, India presents massive growth potential. “India has been predicted to deliver the strongest GDP growth of 9.5% in APAC in 2021, compared to just 6.5% for the region. To sustain this growth, it is now imperative for the nation’s public and private sectors to be more aggressive in adopting digital technologies to capitalise on this potential and also achieve the common sustainability goals,” he said.
According to Ravi Krishnaswamy, Senior Vice President, Energy & Environment; Industrial APAC, Frost & Sullivan, "With increasing focus on adopting sustainable development goals and gaining a competitive advantage, digital technologies are driving the convergence necessary for achieving a balanced growth between business and environment. Digitalisation has emerged as one of the top strategy agendas for many corporations worldwide.
“Companies are increasingly adopting digital solutions for compliance related data measurement and reporting, easy collaboration with supply-chain partners, data on low-carbon materials, and machine-learning and artificial-intelligence capabilities for improving their sustainability quotient."
Large economies in the region have already committed more than US$250 billion in investment towards sustainability and indicated timelines to become carbon neutral. Yet only two countries from the region appear in the top 25 in the Global Sustainability Index 2021. Action must now be taken to embrace digitalisation as an enabling pillar and increase the commitment towards sustainability, contributing to the global cause while upholding often divergent stakeholder interests. To learn more about Autodesk’s commitment to sustainability, visit www.autodesk.com/impactreport.