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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 program

We embody our principle of doing business right by prioritizing the sustainability impacts most important to our stakeholders and us. We analyzed 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 finalized in 2014, and in 2017 we completed our first refresh to ensure our issue prioritization is up to date.

Eaton material issues assessment

Our analysis consisted of the following steps:

  1. Using the results of our 2014 analysis, customer and shareholder questionnaires, and stakeholder key issues rankings, we created a list of 28 topics in 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. Presented the findings to our leadership team, who provided feedback that was incorporated to a final list of sustainability priorities.

  5. 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 our 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 as, respectively, “Climate action” and “Positive-impact products” to emphasize and reframe our contribution to key megatrends. We also added information security as a key issue due to increasing interest from internal and external stakeholders about 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


Climate action

Internal, Downstream

Community involvement

Internal, Downstream

Ethics and compliance

Upstream, Internal

Health and safety


Inclusion and diversity


Information security

Internal, Downstream

Positive-impact products

Internal, Downstream

R&D and innovation

Internal, Downstream

Talent management


Waste reduction


Water usage