Eaton has established policies to ensure that its operations are conducted in keeping with good corporate citizenship and with a positive commitment to the protection of the natural and workplace environments.
Our operations involve the use and disposal of certain substances regulated under environmental protection laws. We continue to modify processes on a regular basis in order to reduce the impact on the environment, including the reduction or elimination of certain chemicals used in, and wastes generated from, operations. Specifically, we manage chemicals as part of our Management of Environment, Safety, Security and Health (MESH) programme.
MESH is a globally deployed, unified management system designed to take our EHS programme to levels of excellence. Our facilities worldwide share common goals, apply the same metrics, set targets for improvement and identify and exchange best practices. Most importantly, MESH has elevated EHS from a series of isolated activities to a responsibility shared by all Eaton employees.
Within our MESH system, Planning, Risk Assessment, Change Management, Chemical Management, Hazardous Material Management, and Emergency Response elements work together to reduce future spill risks and ensures safe spill response. The MESH programme includes training and internal audits for chemical management.
With respect to historic releases, and as noted in our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, Eaton is involved in remedial response and voluntary environmental remediation at a number of sites. We became involved in many of these sites through our voluntary decision, in connection with business acquisitions or as a result of government action.
Remediation activities, which generally involve soil and/or groundwater contamination, include pre-clean-up activities such as fact finding and investigation, risk assessment, feasibility studies, design and action planning, performance (where actions may range from monitoring, to removal of contaminants, to installation of longer-term remediation systems), and operation and maintenance of a remediation system. Our teams also use state-of-the-art methods to reduce our liability while minimising our environmental impact. These methods include:
Environmental liabilities are included in our annual risk management process. Each remediation site is reviewed regularly, in line with accounting and legal protocols. Remediation costs are reported regularly through our financial reporting.
Eaton is committed to minimising the environmental impact of our operations and products wherever we do business, and to continuously improve our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) performance. It is the responsibility of every employee to meet this EHS policy.
To that end, Eaton applies a standard group of practices worldwide for ethics, energy and water consumption, waste generation, product quality, employee safety and more. We specifically direct our EHS efforts in the following areas:
The Eaton Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety is responsible for implementing the EHS policy. The Governance Committee of the Eaton Board of Directors has oversight regarding significant public policy with respect to our relationships with shareholders, employees, customers, competitors, suppliers and the communities in which we operate. These issues include EHS concerns as outlined in the Eaton EHS policy.
Eaton is proud to have strong internal processes and controls for managing our sustainability performance. Many of these controls connect individuals and teams across our company and include management at each level of the organisation.
Our goal is to have zero spills and releases. We track the number of reportable spills according to regulatory agency requirements. We also evaluate how effectively we remediate the spills that do occur and invest in technologies that enhance our performance, including:
The EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) is a public database containing information on disposal and other releases of over 600 toxic chemicals from thousands of US facilities. Information about how facilities manage those chemicals through recycling, energy recovery and treatment, is also provided. One of the TRI's primary purposes is to inform residents about toxic chemical releases in their communities.
Each year, companies across a wide range of industries (including the chemical, mining, paper, oil, industrials and gas industries) that produce more than 25,000 pounds or handle more than 10,000 pounds of a listed toxic chemical must report it to the TRI. The data is then posted on the EPA’s TRI web page.
Eaton reports annual TRI data from all US facilities. The following table summarises the company's total TRI releases for the past two years. More details are available on the EPA’s TRI web page.