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 those important to 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, in the years since. This assessment process included:

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


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 representatives of our external stakeholders, as well as several Caterpillar vice presidents, selected Caterpillar leaders with sustainability responsibilities, our Sustainable Development team and our chairman and CEO. 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 viewed 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 representatives from academia to identify the sustainability topics most influential 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.