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Materiality

We have a robust process that helps us understand what matters to our operations, the environment and our stakeholders.

Doing business right

The foundation of our commitment to being a responsible global citizen is to operate efficiently and sustainably, while producing products and services that allow our customers to do the same. We care about "doing business right"—and how we get our results is just as important as the results themselves.

Key stakeholder topics

Proactive management is the foundation of our sustainability programme

We embody our principle of doing business right by prioritising the sustainability impacts that matter most to our stakeholders and to us as a company. We have analysed our most important sustainability priorities, which are now integrated into our sustainability and reporting strategies and serve as our compass for mapping future performance.

Our first analysis of key sustainability topics was finalised in 2014, and in 2017 we completed an update to ensure that our issue prioritisation is up to date.

Our analysis consisted of the following steps:

  1. Using the results of our 2014 analysis, of customer and shareholder questionnaires, as well as of stakeholder key issues rankings, we created a list of 28 topics across the environmental, social, product responsibility and governance focus areas.

  2. With the support of a third party, we conducted interviews with key internal and external stakeholders, including Eaton leadership, customers, suppliers, shareholders and NGOs to determine priority areas.

  3. In addition to our interviews, we reviewed source material from internal risk assessments, ranking and rating agencies, NGOs and investors, and completed an employee survey on key issues.

  4. We then presented the findings to our leadership team, who provided feedback that was incorporated into a final list of sustainability priorities.

  5. We reviewed existing data and interviewed functional leaders to gain a greater understanding of our current state, assessing our strategy, goals, metrics, performance and reporting on each issue.
Throughout the process, we implemented the GRI "Principles for Defining Report Content":

Mapping the boundaries of our sustainability priorities along our value chain

To understand the boundary for each of our sustainability priorities, we mapped the impacts along our value chain. Through this exercise, we divided our impacts into three groups:

  • Upstream
  • Internal
  • Downstream

In the following table, we have captured our updated priorities and their associated boundaries.

Changes from 2014: Due to our position as a leading power management company and our ability to impact global issues such as climate change through our operations and products, we renamed our GHG reduction and products categories to “Climate action” and “Positive-impact products”, respectively, in order to emphasise and re-frame our contribution to key mega trends. We also added information security as a key issue due to increasing interest from internal and external stakeholders in data privacy and cybersecurity. While disclosure, economic value, operational excellence, risk management, and spills and releases continue to be important areas of focus for us, these have been removed from our list of top sustainability priorities.

Material issue

Boundary

Climate action

Internal, Downstream

Community involvement

Internal, Downstream

Ethics and compliance

Upstream, Internal

Health and safety

Internal

Inclusion and diversity

Internal

Information security

Internal, Downstream

Positive-impact products

Internal, Downstream

R&D and innovation

Internal, Downstream

Talent management

Internal

Waste reduction

Internal

Water usage

Internal