Cummins unveils new environmental sustainability strategy to address climate change, conserve natural resources


Cummins Inc. announced its next environmental sustainability strategy, which includes science-based goals that meet or exceed the goals in the United Nations Paris agreement on climate change. By 2050, Cummins is targeting net-zero carbon emissions.

“Our communities and our business depend on our collective response to improve the health of the planet while creating prosperity for all,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO. “It’s clear that government, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and communities must unite behind swift, decisive action to address the environmental threats we face.”

The strategy, called PLANET 2050, is focused on three priority areas: addressing climate change and air emissions, using natural resources in the most sustainable way, and improving communities. It includes eight specific goals, timed to 2030, as well as aspirational targets for 2050 and is the most comprehensive and ambitious environmental sustainability strategy ever pursued by the company.

Below are Cummins’ new, specific 2030 goals related to its parts, products, and company-managed facilities and operations:

Doing our part to address climate change and air emissions

  • Reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations by 50% (science-based target).
  • Reduce absolute lifetime greenhouse gas emissions from newly sold products by 25% (science-based target).
  • Partner with customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from products in the field by 55 million metric tons.
  • Reduce volatile organic compounds emissions from paint and coating operations by 50%.

Using natural resources in the most sustainable way

  • Create a circular lifecycle plan for every part to use less, use better, use again.
  • Generate 25% less waste in facilities and operations as a percent of revenue.
  • Reuse or responsibly recycle 100% of packaging plastics and eliminate single-use plastics in dining facilities, employee amenities and events.
  • Reduce absolute water consumption in facilities and operations by 30%.

Cummins will make investments to achieve the goals, which will require new technology and capabilities. The company has a history of developing challenging goals and then finding ways to achieve them. Cummins reports results transparently even when falling short of goals. As Cummins has done with past environmental goals, the progress on 2030 goals will be periodically evaluated and communicated including consideration of whether more can or should be done in line with global energy and environmental challenges.

“Our vision for 2050 is a world where Cummins powers the world’s really important work with carbon neutral products and operations,” said Brian Mormino, Executive Director Worldwide Environmental Strategy and Compliance. “Since our communities and business depend on a healthier planet, we will take strong action on climate change and work toward a future where we waste nothing and ensure that our communities are better because we are there.”

In 2020, Cummins will launch a strategic community environmental program to align its efforts and affirm its commitment to the environment as one of the company’s three community priority areas. Also, as part of its focus on communities and natural resources, Cummins joined the CEO Water Mandate, which is focused on addressing global water challenges through corporate water stewardship, in partnership with the United Nations, governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.

Cummins will continue to work in partnership with others to advocate for tough, clear and enforceable regulations across the globe to address air emissions and for science-based climate policies. Earlier this year, Cummins’ executives testified before two U.S. Congressional committees, advocating that legislation should include national-level emissions targets for product-specific applications, regulatory certainty and realistic implementation schedules. They also supported robust federal investment in research and development, grant programs for adoption of new technologies, and tax incentives.

“We recognize that achieving our strategy requires Cummins to invest in new technologies along with the development, implementation and enforcement by governments of clear regulations that drive down economy-wide air and greenhouse gas emissions,” Mormino said. “We will continue to work with trade associations, our customers, suppliers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to advocate for policies in line with our 2050 targets.”

A team of experts created Cummins’ plan after consulting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, analyzing best practices globally, considering the unique needs of the company’s stakeholders, and undertaking significant internal review. In 2017, Cummins formally committed to developing science-based targets under the Science Based Target Initiative, which provides a framework for the calculation of greenhouse gas goals for products and facilities that are in line with recommendations by climate scientists.

In 2019, Cummins was named to the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for a 14th consecutive year. In 2006, the company set its first facility energy and greenhouse gas goal and joined U.S. EPA Climate Leaders program – firmly stating its commitment to addressing climate change. In 2014, the company released a global environmental sustainability plan with facility goals in water, waste, and energy. Progress against the goals is publicly reported annually in Cummins’ Sustainability Progress Report.

What others are saying:

“The science is clear: To avert the worst impacts of climate change, the developed world must transition to a 100% clean economy — producing no more climate pollution than we can remove — by 2050,” said Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund. “So it is heartening to see Cummins take its place among the industry leaders from multiple sectors who are now embracing this goal. Perhaps even more important is its commitment to slash pollution from both operations and products by 2030, because effective action now is what we need most. And by advocating for policies in line with those targets, Cummins sets a powerful example for others to follow. Its strong commitment to work with policymakers and community leaders on tough, clear and enforceable rules to cut pollution will mean better lives and healthier communities.”

“Cummins’ new sustainability plan continues the company’s track record of leadership on environmental stewardship and advances its efforts to reduce company contributions to climate change emissions, both from its manufacturing processes and the products it makes,” said Janet McCabe, Director of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute. “The plan is science-based, has transparent goals and metrics to measure progress, and follows Cummins’ corporate values. Climate change impacts us all, corporations and communities alike, and we need the private sector to step forward with plans like this.”

“Disclosure is the vital first step for climate action,” said Bruno Sarda, President of CDP North America. “Cummins has demonstrated its commitment to transparency, as evidenced by their consistent CDP disclosures, and has taken progressive steps toward sustainable best practices – most prominently, committing to a scope 1 and 2 science-based target aligned with a 1.5C trajectory and an aggressive scope 3 use of sold product target. As the company works to meet these targets, we look forward to seeing Cummins continue to drive towards a low-carbon future.”

“I know firsthand the ramifications of poor air quality and Cummins’ willingness to take a leadership role in helping to lead in the search for solutions,” said Seema Arora, CEO of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development at the Confederation of Indian Industry and an advocate for sustainability globally. “PLANET 2050 expands that leadership further to climate change and natural resources, and I hope its global, long-term, and science-based approach becomes a benchmark for others to follow.”