PLM and Sustainability December 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of PLM & Sustainability, a news digest from the PLM Green Global Alliance exploring the role of Product Lifecycle Management business strategies and enabling technologies in transitioning to a sustainable, low-carbon, circular economy. In this issue you will find:

  • Looking Back at the Year 2022
  • PLM Green News Roundup
  • References on PLM and Sustainability
  • Industry and Solution Provider News Roundup
  • More About the PLM Green Initiative
  • A Holiday Wish for a Green New Year


Looking Back at 2022

During the past year the impact of a changing climate on people and the planet was undeniable as we chronicled in our monthly Climate Change News Digest. Yet, despite all the bad news, 2022 saw more good news than ever before in the progress toward decarbonization of energy production and industry usage.

PLM Green contributors observed that 2022 was the year that climate change started having a widespread impact on products and processes outside of just a few select industries, like automotive and energy, which historically led the way in improving efficiency. The imperative to decarbonize the global economy is now affecting nearly all other industries including aviation, construction, consumer products, fashion and apparel, food and beverage, heavy machinery, high-tech and electronics, industrial equipment, marine and naval, materials and mining, and transportation mobility.

Image Credit: Nature and The Global Carbon Project

These industries collectively contribute a majority of the emissions that humans are responsible for putting into the atmosphere each and every year, and which despite our efforts continue to rise.

Like many others I have longed for reasons to be optimistic – based on more than just hope – that we would muster the courage to change and accelerate the technologies needed to head off the worst climate disruptions triggered by planetary tipping points. These triggers include the thawing of Arctic permafrost, slowing of the Atlantic Ocean meridional circulation, disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets, loss of equatorial and boreal forests, collapse of marine life due to ocean warming and acidification, and a warming of the Arctic that destabilizes the polar vortex, wrecking havoc in the northern hemisphere with dozens of deaths as the US just experienced.

Yet what a difference two years makes as I wrote about in our last newsletter. I sincerely believe we have now reached a monumental tipping point in Awareness, Acceptance and most importantly Action. More significantly, it is self-evident this is happening simultaneously across all levels of our society including individuals, families, communities, businesses, governments, international organizations, and professional groups like our own. You can see proof of the latter in social media channels where the topic of #sustainability has over 13 million followers on LinkedIn.

To end the year, here are just a few of the good news stories, some of which we recently shared in a post to our LinkedIn group followers.

  • Nations that produce 90% of world’s GDP have committed to becoming net zero by mid-century as many see it as an economic, national security and human rights imperative.
  • Any remaining doubt or debate fueled by misinformation on whether climate change is happening and what is the cause has largely been put to rest.
  • Recent polls document that public support for addressing climate change is widespread in both developed and developing economies.
  • Young people around the world are active and turning out to vote their concerns and values, petitioning or suing their governments to act.
  • Communities and nations across the globe are moving past denial and starting to prepare for climate mitigation and adaption.
  • Climate scientists now think the worst-case scenarios in global warming of temperatures exceeding 5 degrees C are likely to be avoided (unless a tipping point is breached).
  • Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are slowing and are now expected to peak this decade.
  • There has been an explosion in renewable energy produced from wind and solar that exceeds expectations as global renewable power capacity is predicted to double within the next 5 years.
  • Coal-fired power plants across the world are being decommissioned and retired early, though new ones are still under construction mostly across Asia.
  • The growth in production and demand for electric vehicles around the world is astonishing.
  • The importance of accounting for all emissions across Scope 1, 2, and 3 is now understood, and those organizations who greenwash over their lifecycle emissions are being called out.
  • The imperative to decarbonize manufacturing is being viewed as a business opportunity, not just a threat, with massive investments being made by the public and private sector.
  • A nuclear fusion reaction breakthrough occurred where more energy was created than used to ignite it, all while safer and more affordable fission nuclear energy sources are being developed.
  • The ESG movement among investors and analysts is having success in keeping oil and gas reserves in the ground.
  • The Ukraine war, while tragic for all those suffering, is accelerating a transition away from fossil fuels and autocratic petro states.
  • The US resumed participating in and contributing leadership, technology, and funding that has been missing in recent years.
  • International funds are being established to help the poorest countries develop green energy and compensate those who suffer losses and damages they were not responsible for creating.
  • In our industry, most of the leading PLM solution providers and consultancies are now addressing sustainability, green energy, or the circular economy in their product portfolios, services, and marketing priorities.
  • A global ecosystem of sustainability-focused innovators, software providers, consultants, publications, events, investors, and professional organizations like our own continues to expand in width and depth.

If this was not enough to convince you (and myself) we are turning the corner, read more positive news stories on the euronews.green website as well as in this recent New York Times climate change feature article from climate journalist David Wallace-Wells or in his National Public Radio audio interview.

No doubt there are still very real and very big obstacles ahead as we continue to burn through the remaining carbon budget that can keep temperatures from exceeding the Paris Accord limits. This decade remains ever so important as we are years behind where we could have been if we would have listened and acted much earlier. The progress to date did not come easily and it was not without a cost borne by a multitude of international scientists, citizen activists, engineers, NGOs, government policy specialists, business leaders, and investors. It is all worth taking a moment to celebrate and give thanks to during this holiday season.


PLM Green News Roundup

PLM Green co-founder Jos Voskuil spoke at the combined CIMdata PLM Road Map EMEA and Eurostep PDT Europe conference on the topic of “Sustainability and Data-Driven PLM: The Perfect Storm.” Jos explored the role of digitalization, digital twins and systems engineering in reducing GHG emissions and reducing waste. For those unable to make the live conference, Jos recorded his presentation afterwards which is available HERE along with a written commentary about the urgency of PLM and Sustainability.

Over the past year, PLM Green was excited to meet with six different PLM solution providers to interview them about their work in sustainability and learn how they walked all the green talk. These sessions included speaking with representatives from Aras, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, SAP, Sustaira, and most recently PTC. A summary of what we learned from each discussion along with access to recordings can be found on the PLM Green website under news.

In early December, PLM Green contributors Klaus Brettschneider and Jos Voskuil spoke with Dave Duncan, PTC Vice President of Sustainability, and James Norman, PTC Global Lead for PLM + Design for Sustainability Center of Excellence. (Isn’t it inspiring that a PLM provider has job titles like this!) The panel discussion can be viewed here to learn what PTC hears from its customers about sustainability and why existing PLM solutions like Windchill already offer the intrinsic capabilities needed to make sustainability decisions.

Digital transformation advocate and PLM Green past contributor Lionel Grealou (グレアルー・リオ) published an article in Engineering.com on “The Intersection of MBSE and Data Resilience for Sustainability” which shared insights from his and other presentations on sustainability from the Global Product Data Interoperability 2022 Summit.

PLM Professor and PLM Green participant Patrick Hillberg Ph.D. was recently interviewed about sustainability by Transformational Change Coach Nina Dar in her Change Troubleshooter podcast series that includes interviews with other PLM SMEs.

Since our last newsletter, PLM Green has welcomed dozens of new followers to our LinkedIn discussion group. We continue to be encouraged by the diversity of countries, industries, companies, genders, ages, and jobs from students to CEOs who have joined us.

Stay tuned for more PLM Green announcements in 2023 of additional interviews, panels and discussion forums focused on specific sustainability topics, case studies, research, and publications. To nominate a subject or speaker you would like to see covered, email us at info@plmgreenalliance.com.


What does Product Lifecycle Management have to do with Sustainability?

If you are new to the intersection of PLM and Sustainability and unsure or perhaps even unconvinced why the practice of PLM is so relevant in sustainability initiatives, we invite you to consider a few of the following resources:

Lastly, we continue to build out a reference library of examples and case studies on the PLM Green website. We invite submissions from our followers with an email to info@plmgreenalliance.com.


Industry and Solution Provider News Roundup

Here are just a few of the dozens of announcements and events we noted over the past few months which might have been easy to miss in your own news feeds.

SAP Sustainability Product Manager and PLM Green follower Nico Wottke shared a progress update on SAP’s rapidly evolving Footprint Management capabilities where he addressed one of the big obstacles in emissions reporting: acquiring data from all the disparate sources to account for the full footprint of a product over its lifecycle.

PTC released a CIMdata-authored e-book on “The Sustainability Imperative: PLM for Green Engineering” that discussed why PLM platforms are uniquely qualified to provide the digital backbone product sustainability initiatives require.

PTC’s President and CEO James Heppelmann celebrated his organization’s work with its customer Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the major scientific breakthrough of producing fusion energy.

Dassault Systèmes was recognized for the second year in a row as a leader in sustainability practices due in part to its Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) solution introduced earlier this year.

Dassault Systèmes Executive Vice President of Industry Marketing and Sustainability and PLM Green group member Florence Verzelen participated in the UN COP27 climate conference where she shared examples from around the globe on the use of digital technologies like virtual twins in driving sustainable innovation.

Engineering.com published a “Guide to Sustainable Product Design” that references four ways to execute sustainable product design which can build sustainability into a company’s innovation DNA.

Aras continues with its series of thought leadership webinars on sustainability in a recorded event on “The Energy Crisis: PLM Can Help You Make Decisions that Sustain Business” led by Patrick Willemsen.

A recently recorded Aras webinar on “A Sustainable Future – Seize Opportunities When Someone Else Sees Costs” in which PLM Green’s Jos Voskuil participated in can be viewed HERE.

Tech-Clarity’s Jim Brown published results from a survey on Strategies for Business Sustainability that investigated the increasing business pressures as regulations and customer expectations for ESG mount.

CIMdata announced a January webinar on “The Green Energy Transition and Sustainability” that will present key aspects for helping organizations realize their net-zero commitment and how PLM can be used to design more sustainable products.

Image Credit CIMdata

Mark Reisig, CIMdata’s recently announced Green Energy Practice Director, published an insightful post asking “Can We Afford the Green Energy Transition?” where he raised concerns about whether the US national energy grid is ready to support the rapid growth in renewable energy sources.

SAP and PwC announced a new co-innovation ESG strategy to make sustainability an integral part of standard business operations by covering carbon measuring, reporting and steering as well as supply chain decarbonization, climate risk and competitive analysis.

Hexagon AB announced an investment of $100M in Divergent Technologies, a US-based pioneer in green manufacturing processes for the automotive industry.

ANSYS released new episodes of its online series “Earth Rescue” that explores how multi-physics simulation helps engineers in the fight against climate change.

PwC announced a Climate Excellence tool to help investors and companies assess the impact of climate change following a study estimating the world’s 215 largest companies face a financial climate risk to their business operations of nearly US$1 trillion.

Dassault Systèmes announced a unique Eco-Design Engineering certification that validates knowledge and skills in Life Cycle Assessment of those who demonstrated they are able to define environmental targets, manage human activities, assess the environmental footprint and perform trade-off studies.

Siemens Vice President of A&D Industry Strategy, Dale Tutt, discusses the value of MBSE and Digital Twin modelling in evaluating designs for the operation and manufacturing of zero-emissions aircraft in a recent Digital Engineering article.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is employing digital twin modeling to help scientists assess potential climate mitigation actions on a global scale.

Fashion PLM solution provider DeSL announced a webinar on “Using Technology to Accelerate Growth, Manage Carbon Emissions & Sustainability Initiatives” that recognizes the growing importance of sustainability and the circular economy in the apparel industry.

Find more news and announcements on the PLM Green LinkedIn Group site. Have an item or especially a case study to share with readers? Send it to us at info@plmgreenalliance.com along with a note on the source to credit.


More About PLM Green

For those new to the PLM Green Global Alliance, the initiative was started in 2020 by Richard McFall in North America and Jos Voskuil in Europe with the goal of building a community of professionals who use, develop, research, market, teach, consult or support PLM business strategies, supporting technologies and software solutions (e.g. PDM, CAE, MBSE, 3DP, CM, PPM, AR/VR, CFD, etc. and more as referenced on the PLM Ecosystem Atlas) that can contribute to sustainability.

Our vision was to create an international network where professionals who care about both products and the planet can freely share information and encouragement with each other in an open no-cost non-politicized venue. Learn more about our informal coalition on our PLM Green website which we hope to refresh in 2023.


A Holiday Wish for a Green New Year

Speaking for myself, a sustainable green economy is one that is both environmentally friendly AND prosperous for all nations, businesses, and inhabitants across the planet. My wish for the new year is that the drive toward a greener economy will become an aspiration and then a reality we all can share in common regardless of national borders or politics. And one where green will eclipse any red and blue differences that have polarized and paralyzed progress toward overcoming the big challenges of our times.

Whether you are a student, new hire, mid-career, at the pinnacle of your career, or approaching retirement, it’s an exciting time to be working at the intersection of PLM & Sustainability. Creating a more sustainable economy needs all of our contributions, large or small.

If you agree, join our PLM Green LinkedIn Group by sharing your insights or subject matter expertise, or volunteer your enthusiasm and time to make a difference in the greatest technical challenges and business opportunities most of us will ever experience in our careers.

As always, let us know what you think about our effort by leaving in a public comment below or send a private email to info@plmgreenalliance.com.

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