Product Stewardship

Product stewardship covers the full lifespan of our equipment – from the supply chain to the customer’s job site to remanufacturing. This means taking active steps to reduce potential environmental, health and safety impacts, as well as optimizing operational quality and efficiency throughout the life of the product. We accomplish this by:

  • Engineering products to eliminate hazardous substances
  • Utilizing more sustainable energy sources
  • Extending a product’s life through the use of remanufactured parts or rebuilt machines
  • Working with customers and distributors to encourage the proper disposal or recycling of end-of-life materials

Innovation Management

Our Enterprise Technology Strategy establishes the foundation of Caterpillar’s product development innovation, focusing on key technology areas that impact many facets of sustainability by:

  • Providing foundational components for a wide range of digital solutions
  • Reducing customers’ owning and operating costs
  • Promoting safety and sustainability
  • Increasing product reliability
  • Providing customers with the tools they need to succeed anywhere they do work
  • Allowing Caterpillar to maintain a competitive advantage

The strategy direction is driven by customers’ needs, deep market research, regulatory requirements and global economic indicators to inform decision making. Each of the technologies under development includes customer-focused goals that serve as targets against which progress can be measured.

Research and Development
Dollars in millions

Our Enterprise Simulation Strategy lays the foundation for Caterpillar’s advanced use of simulation in the product development process. This strategy is closely aligned with the Technology Strategy and facilitates sustainability throughout the entire product development process. Caterpillar uses simulation in all stages of product development – from the conceptual phases of research and design through production.

Simulation allows Caterpillar engineers to virtually explore potential product and process designs without having to first build prototypes in iron, which uses significant resources. The practice drives R&D efficiency, saves R&D dollars and decreases time spent doing re-work, all of which allow for fast-paced innovation that benefits both our customers and the company.

Our Technology and Simulation Strategies are governed through multitiered councils composed of leaders from all areas of the business, from our Executive Office to engineering and technical leaders. These councils create and execute the vision for future technologies and processes at Caterpillar, as well as ensure consistent and sufficient funding for Caterpillar’s technology investments.

Standards Harmonization

Industry consensus standards, including those for visibility, rollover protective structures, braking and sustainability, apply to earthmoving equipment. We are involved on an international level to develop and update global standards through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and chair the technical committee for earthmoving machines. Our global standards and regulations team works closely with organizations like the ISO to enhance machine safety standards worldwide. Caterpillar also provides input to regulatory agencies to help ensure the smooth introduction of new technologies.

Technical Expertise

Caterpillar makes management and technical expertise available to regulatory bodies in advisory roles and provides technical assistance as new product standards are developed. These activities include participation, membership and leadership roles in organizations such as:

34  technologies
were transferred from
research into New
Product Introduction
programs in 2017.

  • The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • Industry associations
  • Governmental and nongovernmental delegations to international bodies such as the International Maritime Organization, European Union industry expertise panels; and federal advisory committees chartered under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

By 2017 year-end, there were more than 150 active New Technology Introduction (NTI) and Component New Product Introduction (NPI) projects being worked within the Enterprise Technology Strategy.


The Cat® D3K2 mulcher was named to the "Contractors' Top 50 New Products" list, an award hosted by Equipment Today and The award seeks to recognize new equipment and products that construction equipment owners identify as the most intriguing.

Customer Safety

Caterpillar’s safety culture extends beyond our internal operations to include promoting the safe operation of our products in the field, as well as the safety and health of all individuals who come into contact with Cat® products. This commitment encompasses:

  • Product design and engineering
  • Operator training and certification
  • Solutions for the job site
  • Tools and resources to improve workplace culture

Helping Customers
Get to Zero

The ZIP Process provides a formula for continuous improvement by enabling organizations to achieve the engagement and accountability needed for safety improvements.

  1. Engage Leadership
  2. Assess the Culture
  3. Build the Plan
  4. Develop the Processes
  5. Implement the Processes
  6. Check the Processes

Circular Economy

Wherever possible, we keep resources in the Caterpillar value chain through a circular flow of materials, energy and water.

Caterpillar strives to provide customers with quality equipment that delivers the best economic proposition for their business. Our remanufacturing (reman) and rebuild businesses provide customers not only with immediate cost savings, but also help extend life cycles and use materials more efficiently. Rebuild programs increase the lifespan of equipment by providing customers with a restored product for less cost than buying new.

A complete Cat® Certified Rebuild includes more than 350 tests and inspections, automatic replacement of approximately 7,000 parts and a like-new machine warranty. In addition, trained dealer service professionals perform this work using genuine equipment and parts. Caterpillar provides information, data, training and service tools to help dealers make the most appropriate decisions on which parts to reuse in order to achieve expected longevity of rebuilt components. Reuse of components helps us use materials and energy more efficiently.

Caterpillar takes a systems view of the life of our products. We design and manufacture them for multiple lives, our dealers support and service them to maximize their value to the customer, and we remanufacture them at the end of their useful life to deliver the next generation of value. Our field population, dealer organization, and manufacturing expertise make this possible. This total life cycle approach allows us to provide solutions that help customers build a better, more sustainable world.

The remanufacturing and rebuild programs allow customers to maximize the built-in value of their equipment by:

  • Maximizing productivity
  • Increasing reliability and equipment uptime
  • Driving improved cost-effective performance
  • Offering a like-new warranty
  • Increasing the customer’s return on their investment
  • Providing the customer with a variety of repair options to meet their service needs
  • Providing the customer with a higher resale value
  • Providing the lowest total owning and operating life cycle costs
  • Preserving the majority of energy and materials required to make the original component or machine
Reman & Rebuild Goal

Increase remanufactured and rebuild business sales by 20 percent from 2013 to 2020.


Percent Business Sales
Growth Since 2013

Reman End-of-Life
“Take-Back” by Weight12
Millions of pounds of end-of-life material received


Percent Business Sales
Growth Since 2013

Reman End-of-Life
“Take-Back” Percent12
Actual end-of-life returns/eligible returns x 100

Increasing Global Access to Remanufactured Products

While global customers have driven demand for remanufactured products, not all customers can benefit from the significant cost and efficiency savings that Cat Reman products deliver due to import and export challenges. Certain countries – mostly in developing markets – fail to recognize the value of remanufactured goods for the environment and their national economies, and thus place trade barriers around remanufactured products.

There are typically two types of trade barriers:

  • A tariff barrier might include excessive fees or taxes levied by a certain country that significantly increase the customer’s cost of choosing a viable remanufactured product.
  • A nontariff barrier might include customs officials categorizing remanufactured goods as “used” goods, which cannot be imported under any circumstance or can only be imported after complying with special inspection, certification, licensing or other onerous requirements.

Similar barriers are often faced when customers seek to export their cores and return them to Caterpillar in exchange for a remanufactured engine or component. With the durability, performance, quality and a warranty that is the same as all other Cat engines and components, Cat Reman products should not be treated as “used” goods for the purpose of trade barriers. Indeed, this fact has been acknowledged in a number of free trade agreements and other multinational statements such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Pathfinder Initiative. For the purposes of trade barriers, we advocate that countries participating in the global economy treat remanufactured products the same way new goods are treated.

Caterpillar continues to work with policymakers around the globe to open markets and expand remanufactured options for our global customers, providing them with cost-effective, sustainable solutions for extending the life of their existing equipment. The company informs and educates government regulators around the world on the sustainable benefits of Cat Reman products.

Customer Sustainability

Caterpillar helps customers build a better world, and customers increasingly want to build that world by using less fuel and generating less GHG emissions. These customer needs provide valuable business opportunities to Caterpillar.

We continue to invest in research and development aimed at products that generate fewer direct emissions. In addition, we’re increasing our investment in high-efficiency energy conversion and electrification—working to increase power density, expand the use of alternative fuels, maximize efficiency of power systems, and introduce electrification into our product lines while significantly decreasing owning and operating costs. In doing so, we help our customers improve their own operations, while also driving our competitors to improve.

Job site fuel efficiency, which contributes to reductions of GHG emissions, is strongly considered in our new product development efforts. By developing products, services and solutions that increase customer efficiency, we are also reducing the emissions that would otherwise have been generated from the use of less efficient products or solutions. We also collaborate with dealers and customers to deliver customized solutions that help optimize energy use and provide training for customer operators on how to use our equipment more efficiently.


Leverage technology and innovation to improve sustainability of our products, services and solutions for our customers.

2017 reported sales and revenues derived from products, services and solutions that demonstrate an improved sustainability benefit over existing offerings.13

A significant part of our business is committed to the supply of energy through efficient power-generation solutions. With distributed generation solutions utilizing diesel and natural gas engines, as well as alternative fuels, we help get power where our customers need it. Further, Cat® equipment helps meet the demands of the mining and resources industries to get raw materials where they need to be to create increased access to power.

Caterpillar has implemented hundreds of distributed power generation systems all over the world, which contribute to improving energy access in the developing world while emitting fewer GHG emissions compared with traditional power grid systems. We provide combined heat and power systems, and combined-cycle power systems that can double the efficiency of power generation when compared with the efficiency of conventional power grids. Additionally, our power systems utilize fuels from diverse sources such as gas from landfills, livestock operations, wastewater treatment operations, mine methane, flare gas, syngas and biofuels. These systems provide energy diversity from plentiful (and in many cases, renewable) energy sources.

Natural Infrastructure

Conventional (or grey) infrastructure – sanitary sewers, treatment plants, roads, bridges, dams and levees – is not the only infrastructure in need of rebuilding. Ecosystems that are essential to the health of our economy, communities and planet – forests, prairies, agricultural lands, estuaries, coastal landscapes and wetlands – also are in critical need of restoration. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the earth’s natural infrastructure has been lost or degraded. These ecosystems purify our water and air, sequester carbon, mitigate storm impacts, produce nourishment and supply other raw materials. Our products and solutions are well-equipped to address these types of projects.

To increase attention to and understanding of natural infrastructure development and restoration, Caterpillar is leading a group of like-minded organizations and has created the Natural Infrastructure Initiative. The Initiative is focusing initially on water-based natural infrastructure projects such as coastal resilience, flood and storm mitigation, inland waterways and dam removals. Its role is to add value by accelerating the frequency and pace of natural infrastructure projects in these areas and supporting increased funding for these types of projects. It also is focused on identifying and helping remove or reduce regulatory and commercial barriers to implementing projects. Future activities may include a public campaign to raise awareness of the environmental, social and economic benefits of natural infrastructure and promoting a positive agenda with policymakers to provide incentives to invest in restoring natural infrastructure projects through tax benefits, federal funding and public-private partnerships, as well as other public policy initiatives.

Job Site Efficiency

Caterpillar customers need to realize the full value of their assets on the job site. Our solutions business model is designed to meet that need by going “beyond the iron” to increase asset utilization and optimize the return on customers' site investment. Designed and delivered by our Job Site Solutions (JSS) team in partnership with Cat® dealers, these solutions help customers find new and innovative ways to improve their operations and be more competitive in the marketplace. JSS leverages Caterpillar’s financial, technological, application and management expertise to tailor solutions based on the customer’s own needs, typically in the areas of safety, sustainability, equipment, productivity and finance. As a result, every solution is different, scalable and can range from a short-term consulting engagement to a multiyear fleet management solution.

We consistently find that the cost savings unlocked by our JSS team also deliver additional sustainability benefits. A more efficient operation should drive reductions in emissions, noise, energy use and waste. For instance, optimizing fleet efficiency not only reduces costs, but also it can improve the maintenance and component replacement cycles of individual machines. Better maintenance execution can extend the life of a machine, which in turn, reduces fluid and maintenance parts consumption. JSS helps customers select components and equipment that meet production goals often giving options to rebuild or remanufacture thereby reducing waste and conserving natural resources. The integration of these services is showcasing the three dimensions of sustainability – economic growth, environmental stewardship and social responsibility – for our customers.

Systems Optimization Goal

Increase managed fleet hours by 100 percent from 2013 to 2020.

Fleet Hours
Percent increase from 2013

Increase in fleet hours managed by
Job Site Solutions (2013 to 2017)

Service Agreements
Percent increase from 2013

Increase in number of machines covered by service agreements with Job Site Solutions (2013 to 2017)