How Autodesk’s CFO is tackling sustainability

Stewardship of sustainability won’t have been in a CFO’s job description 5 years in the past. However as firms await the ultimate U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee guidelines on local weather disclosures, aligning sustainability and monetary priorities is high of thoughts.

“I feel they’re inherently linked,” says Debbie Clifford, CFO at Autodesk, a multinational company that develops 3D design software program in engineering, structure, building, and digital leisure. “I’m seeing extra of a motion the place sustainability-type organizations are reporting to the CFO. Though, once I speak to my CFO counterparts, I wouldn’t say at this level, anecdotally, {that a} majority of them have that construction. However they’re not stunned that that is the group construction that we’ve adopted at Autodesk.”

Debbie Clifford, CFO, Autodesk

Courtesy of Autodesk

Clifford leads Autodesk’s sustainability group, with Joe Speicher, VP of ESG and impression, reporting to her, she says. “For us, it’s not nearly sustainability,” she explains. “It’s additionally about our whole ESG [environmental, social, governance] technique.” This contains addressing how the corporate can enhance operations and drive extra sustainable outcomes for purchasers and within the industries the corporate serves, she says.

Billy Scherba, senior director of regulated reporting options at Persefoni, a local weather administration and accounting platform supplier, is seeing extra CFO involvement in sustainability and ESG. “Regulated reporting of financially related knowledge is undeniably inside the CFOs remit,” Scherba says. ESG knowledge is changing into more and more financially related, so CFOs are paying extra consideration, he says. “With a lot of our shoppers, we now have constructed an understanding of how the method wants to vary with controllers or SEC reporting leads, then labored with the CFO to approve and finance the challenge.” He continues, “We have now seen a substantial enhance in SEC reporting firms reaching out to start constructing an ESG knowledge technique.” 

Belief and transparency

Clifford is “personally actually passionate” about sustainability, she informed me. She was at Autodesk for nearly 14 years in monetary management roles however left in 2019 to turn into CFO at SurveyMonkey. Clifford returned as CFO in 2021. One of many essential causes she rejoined Autodesk was “due to the impression that I feel the corporate goes to have on the planet, and I’m not simply attempting to wax poetic,” she says.
“Our software program drives digitization of processes in industries which can be extremely wasteful on the planet, like structure, engineering, building, or manufacturing facility manufacturing,” Clifford says.

An instance? “In my case, we did a transform of our home,” Clifford explains. “There have been a number of occasions once they would deliver uncooked supplies to the location and notice that the uncooked supplies didn’t match the unique design that had been created months earlier. They solely wanted half of it, for instance. And the remainder of it, except it’s repurposed, turns into waste instantly. However having software program digitizes the end-to-end workflow and reduces that waste.” When you can see the place you might need a conflict within the design on the worksite, utilizing cloud-enabled know-how on a tool like an iPad, an architect can modify the plan and have it attain everybody on the worksite, she says.

In 2021, Autodesk issued its first sustainability bond providing, totaling $1 billion. “We have been mainly taking a look at how we are able to deploy capital to drive our sustainability technique ahead,” Clifford says. An instance? Autodesk software program engineered “Europe’s first good canal,” in accordance with the corporate. Scottish Canals, Glasgow Metropolis Council, and Scottish Water got here collectively to create the Glasgow Built-in Water Administration System, and used the corporate’s instruments to show North Glasgow right into a “sponge metropolis.”

Having a hyperlink between the sustainability and finance groups has been important, Clifford says. “We’re not totally there, however we really feel like we’re properly across the racetrack in attempting to be prepared for when the SEC comes out with its formal disclosure necessities,” she says. “The significance of getting that standardization is in order that traders can have belief and transparency.” And, “one of many huge jobs” of a CFO is partaking with traders and telling the story of the corporate, she says. 

Sheryl Estrada

Large deal

A brand new S&P International Market Intelligence knowledge report discovered that world personal fairness deal worth and quantity fell 12 months over 12 months in March. Deal worth was down 37.1% 12 months over 12 months and general personal fairness entries for the month totaled $63.42 billion, in comparison with $100.86 billion in the identical interval a 12 months in the past, in accordance with the report.

Courtesy of S&P International Market Intelligence

Going deeper

A worldwide survey by Alludo, a know-how firm, gauges the present state of neurodiversity within the office. The corporate surveyed and interviewed practically 1,000 neurodivergent people from a number of nations about their experiences, what they carry to the desk and the obstacles they face. “Neurodivergent people provide a wealth of unrecognized, underappreciated traits and capabilities that ship a aggressive benefit for organizations of all sizes throughout all industries,” in accordance with Alludo.


Joe Lillo was promoted to CFO at Pilot Firm, a provider of gas and operator of journey facilities in North America, efficient Might 30. After Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B) turned the bulk proprietor of Pilot Firm on Jan. 31, it recognized Lillo, a longtime Berkshire Hathaway government, for the CFO position. Kevin Wills will probably be leaving his place as finance chief after supporting the transition. Lillo has been a part of the Berkshire Hathaway Vitality household of companies for greater than 25 years. He has experience in enhancing monetary controls, managing danger, and driving accountable worth creation.

William J. Keneally was named interim CFO at RiceBran Applied sciences (Nasdaq: RIBT), a producer of elements derived from rice and historic grains, efficient April 17. Keneally succeeds Todd Mitchell, who has resigned as CFO and COO to pursue a brand new skilled alternative. Keneally is a public firm finance government and a accomplice at CXO Companions, a brand new providers agency of TechCXO. He beforehand served as chief accounting officer of Flutterwave, Inc., a venture-backed, African-focused know-how supplier.


“Keep away from utilizing free charging stations in airports, accommodations, or procuring facilities. Unhealthy actors have found out methods to make use of public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software program onto gadgets. Carry your personal charger and USB twine and use {an electrical} outlet as a substitute.”

—The FBI’s Denver area workplace stated in a tweet on April 6. The workplace informed CNBC the message was meant as an advisory, and no particular case prompted it. On its web site, the FBI affords comparable steerage to keep away from public chargers. 

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