A recent study by Deloitte of more than 6,000 shoppers at 11 leading U.S. retailers found that 54%consider sustainability in product and store selection (see graph below), and 1 in 5 considers it a dominant factor in many product categories. In addition, green consumers shop significantly more often, have higher incomes, and purchase more than the typical consumer.¹
This focus on the environment extends to the developing world as well. In fact, nearly twice as many people in Brazil stated they would pay a premium for green retail products (26%) than in the U.S. (14%). Similarly, more than 3 times as many consumers in India are willing to spend more for green products in the petroleum sector. Overall, according to a 2007 McKinsey survey in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, 87% of consumers are concerned about the environmental and social impact of the products they buy.²
Retailers are working to keep pace, delivering more sustainable product options and helping consumers make more informed decisions. For example, Walmart uses its Sustainability Index to provide consumers easy-to-understand information about the environmental performance of the products it sells, across the lifecycle.
The demand for greener consumer products is only bound to grow, as 2 billion additional consumers will join the economy from the developing world by 2030. Creating products that meet their needs while balancing resource constraints and environmental concerns will be a hallmark of leading companies in the future. Autodesk helps consumer products manufacturers to embrace these opportunities.
Digital Prototyping is central to the Autodesk approach. It enables manufacturers to design, visualize, and simulate the real-world performance of a consumer product, digitally. This enables customers to create more sustainable designs for products and packaging and design products that are easier to manufacture and recycle at end-of-life, further reducing waste and cost.
Minimizing environmental impact requires understanding a product’s performance across its entire lifecycle. Inventor software streamlines the sharing of data with web-based Sustainable Minds Release 1.0™ software to enable environmental lifecycle assessment in the earliest design stages, based on a product’s bill of materials.
Design by Nature
Biomimicry, the process of imitating natural designs to solve human problems, provides a powerful source of sustainable design inspiration. Autodesk was the exclusive founding sponsor of www.AskNature.org, the world’s first biomimicry design portal and database, where users can learn about ecological systems and search for nature’s solutions to sustainable design challenges.
An Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping includes 3D modeling and stress analysis to help designers evaluate materials use early in the design phase. Designers can use finite element analysis to avoid overdesigning and reduce the amount of materials used. Digital Prototyping also decreases the number of physical prototypes needed, decreasing operational waste.
Autodesk also helps our customers improve their use of plastics. With Autodesk® Moldflow® technology, we empower designers and engineers at all stages of the production process to understand the effect of engineering and material decisions long before any plastic flows into a mold. Using these insights, customers predict potential manufacturing defects before mold tooling is cut. State-of-the-art plastic material testing services enable us to supply energy usage indicators and material recommendation wizards that help designers reduce energy requirements and choose the most sustainable material based on the needs of their project.
U.S.-based Pentair Pool Products uses Autodesk® Moldflow® Advisor to evaluate and update its plastic mold designs and determine the feasibility of implementing specific process improvements. As a result, the company saves US$35,000 in materials each year, and will save $1.2 million over the 10-year life cycle of the retooled molds.
Packaging design is another important consumer concern.
With Autodesk Alias Studio, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Moldflow, our customers can easily and quickly design, visualize and simulate innovative and differentiated packaging design alternatives. Doing so results in minimized packaging, better use of alternative and recycled materials, reduced scrap, improved production efficiency, and decreased distribution overheads.
Companies can also complement gains realized through more sustainable product and packaging design by better optimizing the design of their manufacturing operations. In addition to helping address sustainability and compliance needs, these efforts also help drive down manufacturing costs to improve margins.
Autodesk offers BIM solutions for production facilities that work together with digital prototypes of production equipment. This uniquely enables manufacturers to design, visualize, and simulate production lines in the context of their manufacturing facilities. Key sustainability concerns such as energy consumption, emissions, and raw material usage in the construction of the manufacturing facility can also be simulated and better optimized. These key Autodesk technologies enable manufacturers to more closely collaborate with equipment suppliers and contractors to more effectively address environmental and compliance issues.
While consumer demand is an increasing source of pressure, the need to comply with governmental regulatory controls remains one of the major forces driving many companies to embrace more sustainable design and manufacturing processes.
Documentation plays a critical role in compliance. Autodesk provides some of the world’s leading design and documentation software solutions. DWG™ is one of the most common design data formats, widely used in virtually every design industry, which makes it a simple and easy way to document, share, and demonstrate compliance.
Process management and reporting are also critical. Autodesk® Vault Workgroup, part of the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping, enables design teams to easily create and share Digital Prototyping information by securely organizing, managing, and tracking data from a central location. This simplifies the task of documenting and reporting design and manufacturing processes, essential in some areas for compliance.
End-of-life is another important issue for consumer products, as evidenced by emerging laws worldwide related to product take-back. The Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping enables manufacturers to design products that maximize recyclability and accurately document the entire design to meet end-of-life regulatory requirements.
¹ “Finding the Green in Today’s Shoppers: Sustainability Trends and New Shopper Insights,” Deloitte, in conjunction with The Association of Food, Beverage, and Consumer Products Companies.
² “Helping Green Products Grow,” The McKinsey Quarterly, October 2008.