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Caterpillar’s Focus Is on Sustainable Development


Traditionally referred to as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987)”, Sustainable Development (SD) incorporates economic, environmental and social dimensions. It encompasses broad global challenges like climate change, resource depletion, poverty and the impacts of globalization. It also represents an area of almost unparalleled business opportunity for Caterpillar.

For more than 80 years, the world has turned to Caterpillar to help build homes, roads, businesses and communities around the world. As global population continues to grow and limits of resources become increasingly apparent, the need for our products and services as enablers of sustainable development is even more important. We remain committed to encouraging development that occurs in a balanced, planned and thoughtful manner.

Caterpillar’s sustainable development focus
The areas in which we operate – energy, materials, mobility and development – represent society’s basic needs and are fundamental drivers of our business and the world’s economies. Essentially, these sectors pose challenges – such as efficiency improvement and emissions reduction – that represent a series of unmet market needs.

Energy is at the heart of some of the world’s most complex dilemmas, including supply and security issues as well as the challenges of economic development, poverty reduction and climate change. As an active supplier to the energy industry and a leader in the development of innovative distributed power solutions, our machines and engines are used in every aspect of bringing fuels to market. As known reserves of certain fossil fuels are depleted, we are helping the global energy sector extract, distribute and convert existing supplies as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Likewise, as the need and demand for electricity rise, our leadership—particularly in converting alternative fuels into clean electricity—is playing an increasingly important role in meeting these needs and reducing demand for fossil fuels.

To make a meaningful impact in this arena, our employees are working with governments and regulatory agencies to establish energy and climate change policies, regulations and incentives—and with the marketplace to deploy the necessary technologies. And within our own operations, we are committed to improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions intensities at our facilities.

With population growth comes an ever-increasing need for renewable and nonrenewable resources. As a major supplier to the industries that meet the needs for both renewable and nonrenewable resources, Caterpillar provides the products, support and technology to help customers harvest materials efficiently and safely—from extraction through end-of-life recovery.

Caterpillar’s growing remanufacturing businesses represent one of our greatest contributions to sustainable development—by keeping nonrenewable resources in circulation for multiple lifetimes. In line with this contribution, we continue to engage and educate governments and other agencies worldwide on the difference between remanufactured and used products, thereby expanding the world market for remanufactured goods. And in our own processes, we strive to reduce our need for materials by increasing product durability and pursuing life-cycle management strategies.

Caterpillar supports the mobility that drives economies and connects people, and we are providing technologies and expertise to reduce the congestion, pollution and frustration caused by a growing transportation system.

Our ongoing investment in new technologies that enhance mobility is critical to creating value for customers and protecting the environment. For example, Caterpillar’s on-highway engines with ACERT® Technology produce virtually zero particulate matter. We also work to retrofit “legacy” products to help reduce their environmental impact. And we continue to test the use of biodiesel fuels in our engines and machines that are capable of providing optimum engine performance while reducing dependence on crude oil and contributing to GHG emissions reduction.

However, business alone cannot address the broader challenges associated with transport, so Caterpillar continues to work closely with our stakeholders to ensure the smooth introduction of new technologies, and the establishment of technical standards for biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

Decisions that impact sustainable development the most are usually made by governments, municipalities and developers. They determine where roads are constructed, whether dams are built or how forests are harvested. No single entity is capable of identifying genuinely sustainable solutions alone.

Caterpillar’s goal is to be an influential partner by actively engaging and building relationships with developers of major infrastructure projects, including governments and funding institutions, to explore new ways to improve quality of life while protecting the environment. Similarly, we are committed to sustaining employee quality of life through our company-wide health and safety goals.


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