As Caterpillar celebrates its 20th year on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, the company speaks with Waste Management Review about its sustainability strategy.
The last year of the decade saw Caterpillar celebrate its 20th year on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Launched in 1999, the indices evaluate the sustainability performance of thousands of publicly traded companies.
Inclusion is said to function as a benchmark for investors who recognise the long-term shareholder value of sustainable business practices.
Caterpillar was recognised in 2019 for its continued global innovation focus, human rights policy, collaboration with suppliers to assess sustainability performance and public reporting and third-party verification of social and environmental progress.
According to Anthony Watson, Caterpillar Industry Segment Manager Asia Pacific, Caterpillar’s continuous Dow Jones inclusion highlights the alignment of its sustainability and business strategies.
“We think it’s important to manufacture efficient and high-capacity machinery in a sustainable way,” he says.
“Operators don’t have to sacrifice quality for positive environmental outcomes, or vice versa.”
Anthony adds that Caterpillar is committed to building its reputation as a forward-thinking and sustainability minded company in 2020.
Caterpillar’s overarching vision, he says, is to work towards a world in which all people’s basic needs are fulfilled in an environmentally sustainable way.
While achieving this in totality is beyond the scope of an equipment manufacturer, Anthony says Caterpillar can contribute by enhancing product lifecycles and supporting the communities in which it works.
Specifically, he says Caterpillar is committed to preventing waste, continuously improving machine and business quality and innovating equipment systems to support the waste and resource recovery sector.
He adds that the waste industry, which has consistently represented a critical portion of Caterpillar’s customer portfolio, has been growing steadily over the past five years.
“As populations continue to grow there is more demand for waste services. While on a global level we can observe some of the challenges associated with that increase, Caterpillar is committed to using our machinery to manage the challenge,” he says.
To achieve this, Anthony says Caterpillar intends to develop and apply innovative technology to grow the sustainability performance of its machinery, services, solutions and operations throughout 2020.
“We believe sustainable progress is possible by developing better systems that maximise lifecycle benefits, while also minimising the economic, social and environmental costs of ownership,” he says.
“Part of our business strategy is reman and rebuild, which involves finding new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and reclaim materials that would have otherwise gone to landfill,” he says.
Through the program, Anthony says end-of-life products can be returned to operating condition at a significant saving.
Once returned to a reman facility, he says the product is disassembled down to its smallest part.
“Each element is cleaned and inspected against strict engineering specifications to determine if it can be effectively salvaged,” he says.
“From there, accepted components are converted into production ready material through our advanced salvage techniques.”
He adds that in addition to reducing ownership and operating costs, the product stewardship approach reduces waste, minimises demand for raw material and lowers greenhouse gas emissions through reduced manufacturing.
Caterpillar is also working to improve the process efficiency of its new equipment.
“Our next generation hydraulic excavator, which was released in Australia over the past 12 months, allows operators to run their equipment more sustainably through up to 25 per cent reduced fuel consumption compared to previous models,” he says.
Anthony says Caterpillar is also partnering with its customers to deliver more successful compaction rates and productive waste movement methods.
“Working to make our machines more efficient provides not just an economic incentive for our customers, but enables more sustainable practices, as operators are burning less fuel to achieve required compaction,” he says.