"We remain committed to our strategy for long-term profitable growth, which is yielding strong results, and to living our Values in Action."
Throughout 2021, Caterpillar’s dedicated global team achieved strong results in a challenging and dynamic operating environment. They worked to meet strong customer demand while remaining focused on executing our strategy for long-term profitable growth.
We delivered 2021 adjusted operating profit margin and Machinery, Energy & Transportation (ME&T) free cash flow consistent with the long-term targets we set at our 2019 Investor Day while continuing to invest in expanded offerings and services. Our strong free cash flow enabled us to return $5 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our team’s safety-first mindset contributed to achieving our best year on record for employee safety for the third year in a row.
We continued our status as a Dividend Aristocrat, marking the 28th consecutive year we have paid a higher annual dividend.
Our strategy has served us well since its launch in 2017, as demonstrated by our continued strong results.
In 2021, services sales grew 17% to $19 billion over 2020, benefitting from investments in our digital capabilities and expanded commercial offerings. In collaboration with our dealers, we are working closely with customers to help them reduce total owning and operating costs. We are leveraging data and analytics from our more than 1.2 million connected assets to proactively provide customers with insights and tools to manage their fleets and operations for increased productivity.
Caterpillar supports global efforts to mitigate climate change, and sustainability is an important element of our long-term strategy for profitable growth. We believe the energy transition represents an opportunity for Caterpillar to create shareholder value while contributing to a reduced-carbon future. In 2021, Caterpillar and our customers announced a number of projects to contribute to that lower-carbon future. A few are highlighted on page 6 of this report. Our 2021 Sustainability Report provides a more detailed look at our accomplishments.
We responded to needs worldwide through the Caterpillar Foundation – including a record number of natural disasters, continued COVID-19 assistance and an increase in the number of communities receiving contributions. This includes support for both urgent and long-term needs of humanitarian crises.
We amplified our commitment to diversity and inclusion with our first Diversity and Inclusion Report and first-ever Diversity & Inclusion Conference. We value diverse perspectives and strive to ensure our global team reflects the many communities and customers we serve around the world.
We remain committed to our strategy for long-term profitable growth, which is yielding strong results, and to living our Values in Action. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities ahead as our dedicated employees provide the solutions that help our customers build a better, more sustainable world.
Chairman & CEO
Our business helps customers build a better, more sustainable world through innovative products and services.View Profile
See key financial metrics of Caterpillar’s strong financial performance in 2021.View Results
Learn more about Caterpillar’s strategy for long-term profitable growth while striving to meet strong customer demand.Explore Progress
Caterpillar’s governance structure provides leadership, accountability, and transparency to the management of the company.Review Leadership
Caterpillar's global strategy refletcs our continuing commitment to meet the needs of our customers and our communities.Explore our Strategy
Caterpillar's sustainability efforts aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help customers meet climate-related goals.Explore Our Commitment
Caterpillar is committed to ensuring our workplace is diverse and representative of the many customers we serve around the globe.Learn More