Sustainability at Caterpillar

Stakeholder Engagement

A key element of Caterpillar’s sustainability strategy is engagement with stakeholders. Engagement is undertaken across a range of topics and issues as well as within functional areas.

Our External Sustainability Advisory Board is composed of experts from academia, industry and nongovernmental organizations. This group examines the concept of sustainability broadly and, more specifically, as it relates to topic areas that we have identified as important to Caterpillar and its stakeholders. The Advisory Board provides input and counsel on enterprise sustainability strategy, opportunities and challenges, emerging issues in sustainability, progress in implementation and public reporting.

In addition to providing feedback and counsel throughout the year, these experts have provided their comments on Caterpillar’s sustainability report and progress toward achieving our aspirational goals.

External Sustainability Advisory Board

  • Aidan Davy
    Chief Operating Officer, International Council on Mining & Metals
  • Stuart L. Hart
    S.C. Johnson Professor Emeritus, Cornell University; President, Enterprise for a Sustainable World; Steven Grossman Chair in Sustainable Business, Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont
  • Thomas Lovejoy
    University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University; Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation
  • Kevin McKnight
    Sustainability Consultant, former Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President for Alcoa and Arconic
  • William R. Moomaw
    Professor, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, the Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Steve Skerlos
    Thurnau Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of Sustainability Education Programs, University of Michigan
  • Leena Srivastava
    Vice Chancellor, TERI University

Internally, the Caterpillar Sustainability Steering Committee provides guidance and support for our internal sustainability initiatives. This group is comprised of leaders from a number of business units, particularly focused on responsibilities that cross multiple divisions.

In 2016, Caterpillar launched an internal Sustainability Advocates program, and has grown to more than 10,000 members in 2017. This grassroots effort encourages all employees to learn more about sustainability at Caterpillar, share information and ideas with colleagues, provide feedback and input, and embed sustainability principles into everything we do.

Stakeholder engagement is also managed through our various business units. For example, sustainability is considered in interactions with our investors managed by our Investor Relations team, with suppliers through our Supplier Network team, and with customers through our Customer Services team. We communicate with and obtain feedback from stakeholders through a variety of means, including surveys, in-person interactions, trade organizations and others. These stakeholder communications and results are demonstrated throughout this Appendix, and more in-depth discussions about many of these topics may be found in this Appendix.

Affiliations & Investments

Caterpillar Inc., our subsidiaries and the Caterpillar Foundation work with diverse organizations in order to advance economic, environmental and social issues and share best practices across industries.

The company’s affiliations and investments include:

  • Business Council for Sustainable Energy
  • Business Roundtable
  • Diesel Technology Forum
  • Energy Technologies Institute
  • Remanufacturing Industries Council
  • Responsible Minerals Initiative
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • World Coal Association
  • World Resources Institute

The Caterpillar Foundation invests with many organizations, including those below, to support programs that are focused on alleviating poverty:

  • American Red Cross
  • charity: water
  • Feeding America
  • Global Citizen
  • International Youth Foundation
  • Local Initiative Support Corporation
  • ONE Campaign
  • Opportunity International
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • United Nations Foundation
  • United Way

Learn more about the Caterpillar Foundation

Focus Areas

As part of our work in sustainable development, we have identified a set of focus areas that intersect with our business and that guide our thinking as we make day-to-day business decisions.

Many of these areas are associated with our aspirational 2020 operational and product stewardship goals, while others represent areas impacting our long-term business and that are important to our various stakeholders. These focus areas were originally identified and validated as part of an assessment in 2014 and have been further refined, based on stakeholder input, over the past three years. This assessment process included:


A total of 35 sustainability topics were identified and surveyed, covering environmental, social and governance considerations, based on our existing strategy and goals, peer reviews and criteria in external indices and frameworks, such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Global Reporting Initiative.


Survey results were discussed in a workshop that included our External Sustainability Advisory Board, as well as several Caterpillar vice presidents, selected Caterpillar leaders with sustainability responsibilities, our Sustainable Development team and our chairman and CEO at the time. Insights gained from the workshop were combined with the survey results to refine and prioritize topics that were deemed material from a sustainability perspective. These topics inform and direct future activities for strategic improvements.


Stakeholders universally agreed that all 35 topics identified were important, but identified several topics as among the most important to manage on a continuing basis.


The engagement process included a survey of more than 100 customers, employees, shareholders, dealers, suppliers, nongovernmental organizations, trade organizations and academia to identify the sustainability topics most influential to them in their decisions about Caterpillar. Internally, we surveyed Caterpillar executive officers, vice presidents and other key personnel to obtain insight from our strategic leaders as to the sustainability topics most important to the success of our business.

Focus Area Topics included within this focus area
Caterpillar People Employee occupational health and safety
Operational Impact Energy efficiency, greenhouse gas, water and waste management
Product Stewardship Innovation management, customer safety, energy efficiency and air emissions and life cycle product development
Value Chain Dealer network
Governance and Ethics Business ethics and core values, business strategy, financial performance of the enterprise, energy & climate policy and human rights

How Caterpillar Supports the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Caterpillar engages with customers, communities, and policymakers to improve living standards and make sustainable development possible around the world. This work and our businesses intersect with and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in five principal ways.

Construction Industries

Enables customers to build infrastructure — schools, roads, homes, airports and more — to raise living standards and economic opportunity.

Resource Industries

Supports customers who mine and extract mineral resources.

Energy & Transportation

Provides engines and alternative energy applications to provide power solutions around the world.

Policy & Advocacy

Work and advocacy on behalf of public policies that enable sustainable development.

Caterpillar Foundation

Supports a variety of philanthropic efforts primarily related to protecting the environment, improving education, and providing for basic human needs.

Construction Industries Applications Resource Industries Applications Energy & Transportation Industries Applications Caterpillar Foundation Applications