Caterpillar Inc. is an Illinois based company that plays a dominant role in energy, trade, and infrastructure for developing countries. Yet Caterpillar is more than just business. The philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation, founded in 1952, have contributed more than $550 million towards human development around the world. The Foundation has partnered with a variety of key organizations to fund projects in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education, and meeting basic human needs for food, shelter, and healthcare.
As a Fortune 100 company with 2012 sales and revenues of $65.875 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. They are best known for their big, yellow tractors. Caterpillar’s global reach and presence are unmatched in the industry. They have a presence in more than 180 countries around the globe and over 500 locations worldwide. More than half of their sales are outside the United States. As a powerful multinational corporation, Caterpillar has a very influential role in human development.
The Caterpillar Foundation invested $3 million during 2012 in a partnership with a World Resources Institute (WRI) project to promote the development of sustainable cities in China, India and Brazil. Through this “smart cities” initiative, WRI will work with five cities on strategies to increase energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality, urban mobility and land use.
Specific project goals include solutions that will reach one billion people with new public transportation options; avoid 617,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions in the transportation area; reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia water pollution by 15 percent; and provide more reliable energy to 11 million industrial, corporate and residential consumers. In total, the Caterpillar Foundation expects to support this project with $12.5 million over five years – all in an effort to curb the negative environmental side effects of rapid urbanization in the developing countries.
The Resource Foundation is another partner of the Caterpillar Foundation. This $3 million partnership will reach more than 11,000 children in Latin America and the Caribbean over three years, beginning in January 2013. Through a regional strategy targeting specific communities in 10 countries, the program seeks to improve academic achievement, gender equity and life skills among primary school-age boys and girls from 54 schools.
The Caterpillar Foundation has also been a long-time supporter of Opportunity International’s microfinance programs in more than 20 countries around the world. The Caterpillar Foundation’s investment has helped Opportunity International provide life-changing microloans to more than 75,000 small entrepreneurs, create 30,000 jobs and give more than 60,000 rural families access to basic banking services. A majority of Opportunity International’s clients are women who reinvest more of their earnings into health care, education and their communities, which helps break the cycle of generational poverty. As of July 2012, Opportunity International has four million clients, 17,600 employees, 2.3 million insurance policies, and a 95 percent loan repayment rate.
– Maria Caluag