Grainger Highlights ESG Efforts, Updated Materiality Assement in New Corporate Sustainability Report

It marks the MRO products giant's 10th consecutive year of publishing the report.

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CHICAGO — On Thursday, broad line MRO products supplier Grainger, which serves businesses and institutions, announced the launch of its 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report on This marks Grainger’s 10th consecutive year of publishing this report, continuing the company’s commitment to addressing key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and opportunities.

“If the events of this past year have taught us anything, it’s that we are all in this together,” said DG Macpherson, Grainger Chairman and CEO. "This mindset has driven our ESG approach since the beginning. We embrace our obligation to operate sustainably and with a long-term, fact-based view of critical issues regarding the environment, society at large and corporate governance. We are committed to being an attractive and sustainable employer, business partner and investment option."

Key to Grainger’s ESG focus is its materiality assessment, which was updated this year. Customers, suppliers, investors, community partners and team members contributed to this assessment, which shows topics such as diversity, equity and inclusion; energy and emissions; and product quality among the top focus areas. This was an update to the company’s inaugural assessment, which was first published in 2018.

Other report highlights include:

  • New one-page corporate responsibility program overview
  • ESG governance updates, including the Board’s ESG oversight framework, and management’s new ESG Leadership Council which is led by Macpherson
  • Expanded diversity, equity and inclusion content and a feature on Grainger Board members sharing insights with team members 
  • New recycling and zero waste updates 
  • Overview of Grainger’s COVID-19 response and safe return-to-work facility plan

The report also includes data and information on Grainger’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target. In 2020, Grainger announced its commitment to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 30 percent, by 2030, from its 2018 baseline. This target follows the guidelines set forth by the Science Based Targets Initiative and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and it helps Grainger align its internal actions with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, consistent with the Paris Agreement.

This latest target is a continuation of Grainger’s prevailing efforts to reduce GHG emissions. In 2012, Grainger became the first industrial distributor to publicly disclose its carbon footprint. In 2013, the company became the first in its industry to set a public GHG emissions reduction target, which it achieved two years early. In fact, since 2011, Grainger has reduced its absolute scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 37 percent.

In terms of diversity, this report shows that within Grainger’s U.S. workforce at the end of 2020, approximately 38.5 percent were women and 34.1 percent of company leaders were women. This compares to 2019 workforce numbers, at which time 38.1 percent were women and 32.7 percent of company leaders were women. Further, at the end of 2020, the total U.S. workforce was 35.2 percent racially and ethnically diverse, which compares to 34.5 percent in 2019. Racially and ethnically diverse leaders increased to 23.3 percent in 2020, from 21.6 percent in 2019.

Grainger is a proud signatory to The Chicago Network Equity Principles, a campaign focused on advancing women leaders in the workplace to strive to achieve 50 percent representation of women in leadership positions by 2030.

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