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We must do more in the next 10 years than we’ve done in the last 100

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We’re leveraging what we think are the most important secular growth trends that we’ll experience in our lifetime: an energy transition driven by climate change, increasing electrification and explosive growth in digital connectivity.

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This article is sponsored by Eaton.

The climate emergency is no longer an abstract issue for scientists to resolve. It’s here. Action is needed. And Eaton, an intelligent power management company, has a plan. 

Our products are designed to help customers around the world use power more efficiently, reliably and safely. The company’s electrical solutions form the backbone of safe, reliable electricity supply. Its industrial products play a key role in the world’s infrastructure. 

Eaton’s mission-critical support is foundational across essential services — hospitals, first responders, governments, data centers and more. Our customers continue to want cleaner, more electric and more connected products. And the company is meeting that demand while striving to make good on its mission to improve quality of life and the environment at the same time. As a company that was founded more than a century ago, Eaton knows that what it does in the next 10 years is the most critical. And our teams are already in action. 

The power behind the power 

Eaton is leveraging what it thinks are the most important secular growth trends that we’ll experience in our lifetime: an energy transition driven by climate change, increasing electrification and explosive growth in digital connectivity. 

In the next 15 years, it’s estimated that half of the world’s electricity will come from renewable resources. That means more distributed energy resources will be online and more homes, businesses and communities will be able to produce and sell energy as well as consume it. This energy transition is changing how power needs to be managed and optimized for homes, at a facility level and for utilities.

Eaton is leading this transformation by helping customers and communities unlock a low-carbon energy future. 

One example is its recent partnership with Enel X on a state-of-the-art microgrid project at its facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The initial project will incorporate onsite solar generation and battery storage, enabling Eaton to reduce its carbon footprint and demand on local energy infrastructure while providing more sustainable and resilient power for the community. The project also will allow Eaton to share clean energy back onto Puerto Rico’s electrical grid during periods of excess generation. The company is looking at additional opportunities in the region to provide a microgrid-as-a-service approach together. 

While Eaton’s offerings today are making a strong impact, it is also focused on what comes next and is committed to spending $3 billion in research and development over the next 10 years on products and solutions that will reduce emissions. 

Eaton has a global network of six innovation centers and more than 10,000 engineers developing safe, reliable, energy-efficient, intelligent and connected solutions. And it is creating a portfolio of sustainable products that reduce impact and improve performance throughout the entire product life cycle, while considering factors such as human and ecological toxicity, socio-economic impacts and technical performance to better both the planet and our fellow global citizens. In alignment with this investment, Eaton has committed to work with its customers and suppliers to reduce its indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from 2018 levels by 2030.

Relying on the science  

Scientists agree that if our world’s already rising temperature exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius, we can expect substantial, and potentially catastrophic, consequences. That’s why Eaton has joined the global movement to prevent the earth’s warming above this threshold. 

Eaton has set an approved science-based target for its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the company plans to be carbon-neutral by 2030. In addition to GHG emissions reductions, it also has committed to certifying 100 percent of its manufacturing sites as zero waste to landfill and 10 percent of them as zero water discharge by 2030. 

Eaton’s reliance on science also extends to its operations. Our teams are using data, technology and Industry 4.0 methods to develop cleaner and more efficient practices in Eaton facilities. 

For example, our teams have established innovative ways to recycle difficult materials such as metal shavings, also known as swarf. By using mobile centrifuges, Eaton has been able to successfully separate metal materials from oil, allowing our teams to reuse the fluid in manufacturing processes and recycle the metal particles, which reduces costs and lessens our impact on the environment. 

In 2020, this process alone diverted over 185 tons of waste, the equivalent of more than 90 average-sized cars. This material normally would go to landfill and has led to the reuse of over 25,000 gallons of oil. 

Eaton’s workforce is also employing technologies such as additive manufacturing to reduce scrap material and waste. We recently celebrated the first successful flight test of an Eaton additive product on an advanced jet trainer and have many more similar projects in the pipeline. Products such as these not only help Eaton reduce its own operational footprint, they also reduce carbon emissions from the company’s supply chain by decreasing the shipping and transport of parts. 

Looking ahead

While no act is too small, we must focus on where we have the greatest impact. That’s why Eaton is working with trusted customers and partners to affect the entire power ecosystem. Companies such as Eaton share a great responsibility to help mitigate threats to the safety and stability of our planet and its people. As the world strives to respond to the health and social crises shaping our society, Eaton will continue to intensify its efforts to help sustain a healthy planet. 

At Eaton, the work our teams do to improve people’s lives and the environment has never been more relevant, or more critical to our stakeholders and our global community. We look forward to continuing to make what matters work, safely and sustainably, for many decades to come.

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