June 29, 2021

Designing Disruption: How Virtual Twins are Accelerating Sustainability – Part 6/6. Conclusion

We are living in a world where disruptive change is not only…
Avatar Kim Terca

We are living in a world where disruptive change is not only becoming the norm, it’s a matter of urgency: “The environmental degradation inherent in our current models of production and consumption has reached critical levels. Continuing on this path is incredibly high risk as it could trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within planetary systems, and we are already feeling the effects across all our ecosystems,” reads the executive summary of this must-read report by Dassault Systèmes and Accenture.

Imagine if we could unlock combined additional benefits of USD $1.3 trillion of economic value and 7,5 Gt CO2e emissions reductions between now and 2030. Through the quantified analysis of five use cases, this in-depth study demonstrates that it is possible if leaders in business, government and civil society were all to harness the power of virtual twin technologies: “They can or already are, helping to deliver the new products and systems we need for our zero-carbon, circular economies. However, we must be sure to deploy these technologies at pace and with sustainability as a key driver, as only then will we be able to ensure our Global Goals are met by 2030” says the report.

Virtual twins can help enable sustainable innovation at scale – a pre-requisite to create more responsible global value chains and deliver the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The study brings their potential into the spotlight by examining real use cases in Construction, Consumer Packaged Goods, Transportation, Life Sciences and High-Tech to “help drive systemic progress towards more circular and significantly less carbon intensive economic systems.”

Accelerating the Adoption of Virtual Twins

Virtual twins interact with the real world to help companies reduce their costs, resource use and carbon footprint while supporting agile, customer-centric, more circular business models. Yet they are still an underused lever today. The study reports that this is chiefly due to limited understanding of their applications and benefits, difficulty measuring business and sustainability ROI as part of the business case, and a certain lack of progressive executive leadership in adopting the technology for competitiveness and the sustainability agenda. To overcome these barriers and accelerate the adoption of virtual twin technologies, Dassault Systèmes and Accenture conclude with five key recommendations for future players:

  • Tie together technology and sustainability agendas

Ensure leadership support for tying together the technology, sustainability and circular agendas, including measuring and tracking value, connecting to growth strategies and factoring in sustainable value into key investment decision-making.

  • Improve understanding

Improve understanding of virtual twin technology and potential use cases across the organization, including infrastructure requirements, legacy constraints.

  • Focus on disruptive, systems-change use cases

Focus on scaling solutions with transformational sustainability impact, moving beyond efficiency improvements and incrementalism, towards systemic change as presented by the circular economy and large-scale industry decarbonization.

  • Deploy responsibly

Deploy virtual twins based on responsible and inclusive principles, ensuring transparency, inclusion and accessibility are embedded from the start.


  • Rally ecosystem support

Build broad support with private, public sector and civil society to ensure long- term success and help de-risk and pilot use cases where return.

Virtual twin technologies and data analytics drive disruptive innovation and designs, enable new service development, reduce regulatory and HSE risk and enable cross-functional collaboration and co-working. They can support the transformation we need at speed and scale. This whitepaper is an indispensable step in the journey: an inspirational springboard for the next wave of leadership to embrace the combined benefits of technology and sustainability.

Download the full whitepaper here.

Find out more about how Dassault Systèmes are reinventing a sustainable economy here.

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