EHS Management

Sustainability begins with our own operations. At our facilities, we work to minimize our environmental impact, including a focus on energy conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water conservation and waste reduction. We have established high performance standards for environment, health and safety that extend beyond compliance with laws and regulations. Proactive implementation of these standards demonstrates our commitment to sustainability leadership in our industry.

Our Code of Conduct states that we “protect the health and safety of ourselves and others” and “focus on environmental responsibility and preventing waste.” Our EHS Management System, known as the Caterpillar EHS Assurance Manual: A Practical Global Framework, establishes the global requirements for environmental, health and safety compliance and assists operations in complying with the various EHS requirements around the world.

The EHS Assurance Manual sets out mandatory standards that are consistent across the enterprise and periodically assessed at the facility level to improve management of enterprise environmental, health and safety compliance. The Manual applies to all Caterpillar facilities worldwide, including majority-owned subsidiaries and joint ventures, and is designed to effectively implement an EHS enterprise-wide management system.


Caterpillar’s Peoria Proving Ground in Peoria, IL and Surface Mining and Technology facility in Decatur, IL were each honored with a 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). This marks a total of 33 awards for Caterpillar in the 31-year history of the program.

Energy Conservation &
GHG Emissions Reduction

As a manufacturer of heavy equipment, Caterpillar’s operations can be energy-intensive. But even in our most energy-dense environments, Caterpillar employees have found ways to implement innovative energy solutions that reduce our energy costs as well as our environmental impacts.

We have set energy efficiency targets in our operations since 1998 and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets since 2003. We currently have operational targets for an increased reliance on alternative and renewable energy, energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions intensity.

Our enterprise energy management team is instrumental in building awareness, encouraging action and developing solutions in the areas of energy efficiency and alternative/renewable power generation.

Examples of our increased reliance on renewable energy sources include facilities’ purchase of renewable energy certificates and the installation of renewable energy sources such as biogas, and photovoltaics (PV), including an advanced microgrid installation that combines PV, and battery storage to supplement and offset diesel generation at an off-grid location. Our largest contribution to alternative energy consumption is the operation of combined heat and power (CHP) systems to power several manufacturing facilities. The energy management team is evaluating additional opportunities for replication of CHP, PV and microgrids at other locations.

Across Caterpillar’s global operations, our employees are exploring ways to incorporate alternative and renewable energies to improve our efficiency and sustainability performance.

As we work to achieve our 2020 energy-related goals, one important facet of our efforts is to continually assess and improve the efficiency of our existing operations. Systems and facilities that were state-of-the-art for energy efficiency and performance when first installed can fairly quickly be eclipsed by new technologies and best practices.


Reduce energy intensity by 50 percent from 2006 to 2020.

17% Absolute energy
reduction 2006-2017

Energy Intensity
Absolute gigajoules energy use/million dollars of revenue

Operational energy intensity decreased 24 percent from 2006 to 2017.

Total Electricity Consumption
Sum of purchased and self-generated electricity
in million MWh


Reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 50 percent from 2006 to 2020.

2017 Total Absolute GHG Emissions9
Million metric tons

  • 0.86 million metric tons – Scope 1 (direct emissions)
  • 1.26 million metric tons – Scope 2 market-based (indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heat or steam)

GHG Emissions Intensity9
Absolute metric tons of CO2e/million dollars of revenue

GHG emissions intensity decreased 35 percent from 2006 to 2017. In addition, our absolute GHG emissions decreased by 29 percent from 2006 to 2017.

1.29 million metric tons – Scope 2 location-based10

Alternative / Renewable Energy Goal

Use alternative/renewable sources to meet 20 percent of our energy needs by 2020.

Alternative/Renewable Energy6,7,8
Sum of alternative and renewable electrical energy use/total electrical use x 100

  • Alternative
  • Renewable
In 2017, 31.2 percent of our electrical energy was from renewable or alternative sources.

Water Management

The scarcity of water resources is an issue that crosses cultures, geographies and industries. Today, water scarcity affects four out of every 10 people, and current trends indicate the problem will escalate, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations. By 2025, 66 percent of the world’s population could be living in water-stressed regions. While our manufacturing operations are not as water-intensive as those of other industries, we nonetheless recognize the far-reaching economic, social and environmental implications that water scarcity may have in the future – and have taken steps to reduce our consumption.

We continue to implement conservation strategies to:

  • Reduce water use in our operations
  • Explore water-treatment technologies
  • Introduce water-recycling processes at new and existing facilities
  • Train employees about water resources to raise their awareness of the issue

Around the world, Caterpillar facilities take water scarcity and water management seriously, with results that highlight the scale of positive impact that our operations can have.


Reduce water consumption intensity by 50 percent from 2006 to 2020.

Water Consumption Intensity5,11
Absolute thousand gallons of water/million dollars of revenue

Through 2017, we have reduced our water consumption intensity at our facilities by a total of 24 percent from 2006. In addition, our absolute water consumption decreased by 32 percent from 2006 to 2017.

2017 Total Absolute Water Consumption
Billion gallons

  • 1.40 billion gallons – non-contact cooling water
  • 2.64 billion gallons – enterprise water consumption excluding non-contact cooling water

2017 Water Sources

  • Non-contact cooling water
  • Municipal water
  • Groundwater
  • Surface water
  • Other water

Waste Minimization

Minimizing waste in our processes not only reduces costs, but also reduces our use of materials, energy, water and land. We are focused on a goal to reduce all by-product materials, i.e., waste generated by our production processes.

The use of the term "by-product materials" in our 2020 aspirational goal reflects our focus on minimizing our production waste and effectively managing the remaining wastes through remanufacturing, rebuilding, reusing and recycling. We focus on by-product material reduction strategies that are associated with improved efficiency and quality measures, as these offer the greatest opportunity to enhance cost competitiveness and reduce the potential for short- and long-term environmental impacts.

By taking a critical look at every phase of our operations, teams have been able to uncover unexpected and high-impact methods to reduce waste while maintaining or improving performance and customer satisfaction.

Waste Generation
Waste Recycled


Reduce by-product materials intensity by 50 percent from 2006 to 2020.

Materials Intensity
Absolute metric tons of by-product materials/million dollars of revenue

Our by-product materials intensity decreased 4 percent from 2006 to 2017, and decreased 9 percent from the previous year. Our generation of total absolute by-product materials increased 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2017. Streamlining of production capacity has negatively impacted waste generation.

2017 By-Product Materials
Thousand metric tons


  • Recycled
  • Disposed (sent to landfil or incinerated)