On the previous episode of the podcast, we talked about the environmental impact of 3D printing; now we turn our focus to sustainability as a business strategy. My guest in this episode is Zoé Bezpalko, sustainability strategy manager at Autodesk.
Corporate sustainability has its roots in risk management and health and safety management—sort of a conservative, back-office function. Now it’s a competitive differentiator: “If you’re the first company that figures out how to make your packaging with zero plastic, you can promote that, you can market on it, and potentially grab these customers that more and more regard company involvement,” says Bezpalko.
That goes not just for consumers, but for employees and partners as well. “When I meet with large companies, I tell them, ‘Greta Thunberg is the example of your next consumer, but she’s also your next employee and your next CFO. If you don’t lead by example, you’re not only going to lose this customer, but you’ll also lose people who might join your company.’”
New manufacturing technologies including 3D printing and advanced computer-aided design software can both reduce environmental impact and drive customer awareness. And designers and engineers now have more control than ever over the manufacturing chain that produces their products, and more opportunities to consider sustainability from the beginning.