Cummins zero emissions road map

highway after dark with time elapsed vehicle lights

A major global engineering powerhouse like Cummins has been reassessing long term plans in reaction to the impending climate crisis for many years. Mike Fowler, Cummins Director and General Manager On Highway Asia Pacific talks to PowerTorque and explains Cummins’ zero emissions road map to get the company to carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Cummins’ Destination Zero strategy outlines the company’s vision for achieving a zero-emissions future. The recently announced strategy is looking for the engine maker to go further and faster to reduce the greenhouse gas and air quality impacts of its products and reach zero emissions by 2050 in a way that is best for Cummins and all stakeholders.

“On the path to zero emissions, we want to remind the industry that it’s a path to zero emission, it’s not a light switch event,” says Mike Fowler, Cummins Director and General Manager On Highway Asia Pacific. “The plan is to minimise carbon emissions over the period between now and 2050. Waiting for vehicles which create zero emissions actually yields a worse carbon footprint over time than adopting a path to zero which has near-term wins in it.”

Cummins is already well down the track of creating better drivelines with lower fuel consumption, automation, down-speeding, renewable fuels etc. This is part of a long term stage-by-stage strategy by Cummins to ensure that the product the company sells, from today, reduces carbon emissions as technology becomes available and viable.

As Cummins is outlining its road map forward and continuing its tradition of innovation, there are 11,000 engineers in the global organisation working away on moving the technology, step-by-step to that zero carbon target.

According to Cummins, it has done the math and calculated that by going down the lower emissions path right now, the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere between now and 2050 is lower than if we wait for zero emission technology to come along and save the day. 

The goal is called destination zero

To reach zero carbon emissions technology needs to come up with affordable and flexible fuel cell technology and high capacity and affordable battery technology. However, there is also a need to maximise the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from internal combustion engines (ICE) during the period in the lead up to the newer zero emission technology coming on stream.

From Cummins point of view the low carbon fuels available of today (such as biodiesel, renewable natural gas and hydro-treated vegetable oil) are a cost-effective means to reduce carbon emissions in the field with immediate benefits and without requiring infrastructure changes to the transportation system or without substantially increasing demand on the electrical grid.

“Getting to the goal of zero emissions in 2050 does require changes in our product planning today, rather than waiting for the commercialisation of fuel cell or battery electric technology,” says Mike. “When we talk about emissions now it’s a little more complicated. We have regulated emissions like those included in things like Euro 6 and the US EPA rules. They still need to be met, because those gaseous emissions are harmful and have negative public health impacts. 

“However, specific greenhouse gases, CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and others are causing this climate crisis. To decarbonise emissions from transport, all involved have to be involved on the road to zero. There is a need to innovate in the low carbon fuels sector, decarbonise the electricity grid, develop and scale up a green hydrogen industry on the supply side.”

Looking forward

The development between now and viable zero emissions technology becoming common in heavy duty applications is going to be a considerable time. This means lower emissions trucks using ICE need to reduce their carbon footprint to help with the overall reduction in carbon emissions.

“A good path to zero emissions has to lower emissions today in the lead up to 2030,” says Mike. “Whatever technology you develop today has to have the capacity to drive wide spread customer adoption as well as reducing well-to work or well-to wheel emissions.”

If the world moves over to battery electric trucks, but the power grid remains coal powered there has been no improvement. From the point of view of an operation like Cummins, there is a need to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxides as well and carbon emission in this decade.

The path from current product to the final goal involves a number of smaller steps, each delivering a better carbon outcome. The next stage in the future is the delivery of a new engine platform which will enable the lower emissions technology and fuel to deliver the results required.

It is on this platform that Cummins will be able to move forward in a number of stages, from the current diesel technology to the final goal of zero carbon. That new platform is in the latter stages of its initial development and we can expect Cummins to reveal the new technology over the next few years.

There are a number of elements which can offer emissions reduction on the road to zero. For example the new platform will be able to adapted to use natural gas. Just using natural gas does reduce carbon emissions to a degree, but if that gas is made from a biomass, then it becomes a zero emissions engine.

The most likely next step in the development of that particular engine will be to run on hydrogen. Cummins reckons that developing and growing the hydrogen economy is essential. With less expensive, more available green hydrogen, the engine maker will have the opportunity to switch to green hydrogen as a fuel source to decarbonise industries, particularly transportation.

There is already a lot of interest in the production of green hydrogen, manufactured using solar power to convert water into the gas. Again this is a zero emission result with a couple of lower emission stages on the way.

“Government does need to provide incentives and encouragement for operators to adopt new technology,” says Mike. “Transit bus is an early adopter market, heavy duty truck is not.”

The road ahead 

Between now and 2030 Cummins says it will be focused on advancing its solutions, and creating a technology forcing regulatory environment. Over this period it expects to get to the point where it will build scale in new technologies as the economy builds renewable grid infrastructure.

In its forward thinking Cummins sees the decade between 2030 and 2040 as a period when a number of new technologies will compete and improve, leading to a reduction in prices. At this time the refueling infrastructure will spread out over the highway network.

After this decade of change, Cummins sees the run up to 2050 as a time where the technology, infrastructure and supply industry will mature to enable genuine zero emission transport to flourish. There will be a renewable and resilient grid in place, mature hydrogen infrastructure and widespread deployment of new zero and low carbon technologies.

Cummins’ ESG efforts lauded in multiple ways as 2022 draws to a close

Cummins employees at the Columbus Engine Plant unload waste paint at a community recycling day at the plant earlier this year.

Cummins Inc. is ending the final quarter of the year with a flurry of awards and recognition for the company’s work on sustainability and ESG excellence.

The global power technology leader, for example, recently saw its ESG Rating from MSCI upgraded from AA a year ago to AAA last month, the highest rating possible. MSCI stands for Morgan Stanley Capital International. The firm is a leading provider of support tools and services for the investment community.

MSCI said the upgrade was driven by the presence of new members on the Board of Directors, strong workforce management and health and safety programs, as well as efforts to reduce waste and emissions at plants and facilities.

The MSCI ratings upgrade followed other strong ratings for environmental, social and governance excellence earlier in 2022, including a gold medal for sustainability achievement from EcoVadis, a leading provider of business sustainability ratings, and a “Low Risk” ESG Risk Rating from Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG research and data. 


Also in November, Cummins received the Frost & Sullivan Institute’s Enlightened Growth Leadership Best Practices Award for its work on climate action and other sustainability issues.

The award goes to companies at the forefront of “Innovation to Zero,” a phrase first coined by Bill Gates to describe innovation to achieve zero emissions. The institute says it recognizes companies “moving the world in the right direction.”

“We identify companies that demonstrate the commitment to embrace emerging technologies and protocols and generate opportunities for all while sustaining continued growth and highlighting best practices for sustainable development,” said David Frigstad, Chairman, Frost & Sullivan and the Frost & Sullivan Institute.

Frost & Sullivan is a leading global market research company, offering growth strategy consulting and corporate training. The award was announced Nov. 11. This is the second consecutive year Cummins has received the award.

“With a mission to build a more prosperous world with cleaner air, adequate water supplies, less waste and reduced levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, Cummins Inc. strives toward sustainability goals through outstanding initiatives to promote greater social and environmental responsibility,” the institute said in announcing the award.


In October, the company was named to Investor’s Business Daily’s fourth annual 100 Best ESG Companies list for 2022. 

Cummins finished No. 27 in the 2022 rating, which was based on the company’s environmental, social and governance score from the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices along with a review of publicly available data and media coverage of each company.

“In the rough and tumble stock market of 2022, the top companies on our list stand strong,” the publication said in announcing its list Oct. 24. “They maintained their commitment to ESG in a punishing economic environment, and still delivered notable financial performance when compared to other companies.”

Cummins is committed to playing a leadership role on the global effort to reduce carbon emissions while also initiating programs to promote gender equity around the world and address institutional racism in the United States.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Cummins powers equitable workplaces on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

banner that says IPwD

This article originally authored by Mark Smith, Cummins Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Mahesh Narang, Vice President, President Components, and posted internally on December 1, 2022 for employees to recognize International Week of People with Disabilities. 

Inclusion. Innovation. Impact. These are among the outcomes Cummins’ Disability Inclusion Initiative drives as we strive to power accessible, equitable and inclusive workplaces and communities where people with disabilities are enabled to achieve their potential. In observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we take time to reflect on the barriers that prevent nearly 1 billion people in the world from full and effective participation in society, particularly when it comes to employment. Let’s explore how Inclusion, Innovation and Impact at Cummins are helping to break down these barriers. 


An inclusive work environment is one where all employees are valued, belong, contribute and succeed.  One of the ways we help to create an inclusive environment for our employees with disabilities and their allies is through our Disability Inclusion Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Another way of contributing to inclusivity in the workplace is by learning more about disability and how to be a better ally for people with disabilities. We are excited to introduce a new Disability Fundamentals online training that complements our Disability Inclusion Employee Awareness Guide and adds to our portfolio of disability learning resources.   


There are two ways to think about innovation. The first is how proportionate representation of people with disabilities in our workforce helps us to be a more innovative company. By harnessing the diverse perspectives, skills and experiences from all of our employees, we provide superior solutions to our customers and drive innovative engineering, best-in-class quality, manufacturing efficiencies, world-class sales and services and more. The second way to think about innovation is how technology removes barriers for people with disabilities, enabling them to fully apply their diverse perspectives, skills and experiences. Our portfolio of accessible technology solutions like Dragon Pro speech-to-text, Zoom Fusion magnifier/reader and AccessiBe break down obstacles preventing interaction with, or access to websites, digital tools and technologies for people with disabilities.   


While much remains to be done, from dismantling the negative bias and outdated stereotypes associated with disability that are still held by some, to increasing the representation of people with disabilities at Cummins, we are proud of our progress which is marked by these achievements:   

  • Excellent leadership engagement, from sponsoring ERGs to championing hiring initiatives 
  • A vibrant ERG network comprised of seven regional chapters 
  • Consistently generous Corporate Responsibility grants and employee EEEC hours  
    • Over $1.4M in grants 
    • 2,948 employees volunteered over 12,000 hours to 173 different projects 
  • Improved facilities' accessibility and an expanded portfolio of accessible technology solutions 
  • Regular communications that are increasing awareness and understanding of disability 
  • A growing library of training and resources 
  • Invited to join the [email protected] Roundtable 
  • For the second year in a row, we scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index and earned recognition as a Best Employer for Disability 

 We would like to express our sincere gratitude to every employee that has been involved in helping us toward fulfilling our vision “to make Cummins an employer of choice for individuals with disabilities and to eliminate employment barriers within our communities”. Thank you.  


Mark Smith                         

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer              

Executive Sponsor, Disability Inclusion Initiative 


Mahesh Narang 

Vice President, President Components 

Executive Sponsor Disability Inclusion ERG and GILC Chair 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Putting oyster power to work to help save the U.S. Gulf Coast

The Nature Conservancy’s Seth Blitch discusses the oyster reef project with Mary Chandler, Vice President – Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility, and Zach Gillen, General Manager -- Sales & Service North America.

Corporate Responsibility Director Travis Meek was aware of oysters’ amazing ability to filter out pollutants when he visited a company-supported oyster reef project in Louisiana earlier this month.

Meek says until he saw it first-hand, however, he didn’t fully appreciate the other environmental benefits from The Nature Conservancy’s three-mile oyster reef restoration project underway along the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Calcasieu Lake.

"I wasn’t as well informed about the benefits they provide with respect to controlling erosion along the coast,” said Meek, who oversees Cummins Water Works and visited the project along with six other Cummins leaders Nov. 3.

“Louisiana is losing shoreline at a rate of 75 square kilometers per year, which is faster than anywhere on earth,” he said. “While the reefs are only one of many needed solutions, they significantly slow the rate of erosion where they’ve been built.”

Leaders wade to see the restoration project up close
Cummins leaders wade into Calcasieu Lake to see the oyster reef restoration project up close. 


Cummins Water Works is the company initiative to address the global water crisis by partnering with leading water experts and investing and engaging in sustainable, large scale, high impact water projects. Earlier this year, Cummins Water Works announced a $3 million, multi-year grant to The Nature Conservancy to restore water resources in the Mississippi River Basin in the United States.

The Nature Conservancy’s effort is focused both on the upper and lower reaches of the basin. The Wabash River watershed, which includes Cummins’ headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, is the single largest contributor of excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizer to the Mississippi River Basin.

These excess nutrients not only pollute drinking water systems in the Midwest, but also contribute to an extensive dead zone, roughly the size of Massachusetts, in the Gulf of Mexico along the Louisiana-Texas coastline. The pollutants choke marine life, jeopardize the region’s fisheries and hamper recreation and tourism. 

The project is working with farmers in the Midwest on the benefits of adopting more sustainable farming practices like cover crops during the winter and no-till farming to reduce the runoff of excess nutrients. A team of Cummins employees recently worked with The Nature Conservancy to reintroduce mussels in parts of the upper watershed to clean and filter water before it reaches the gulf.


Oyster reefs do much the same thing, serving as one of nature’s most efficient filtration systems, according to Seth Blitch, The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Director in Louisiana. Blitch led the Cummins’ team on their tour of the project.

He said a healthy, one-acre reef can filter approximately 24 million gallons of water each day. Oyster reefs can also serve as natural buffers against rising sea levels from climate change as well as storm events.

The reefs form living shorelines that protect the adjacent coastal wetlands by dampening wave energy that would otherwise cause erosion. They also provide a critical habitat for marine life, contributing to the economic success of fisheries in the gulf.

The Nature Conservancy has so far restored over seven miles of oyster reefs, establishing an impressive coalition behind the work, which started in 2010. Supporters include the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, adjacent landowners and private donors and corporations contributing money to the effort.

Phase III of the project, which extends the reef for about a mile, was constructed in July and August. Blitch said The Nature Conservancy was able to significantly expand the scope of its original plan with Cummins’ support.


Cummins’ leaders making the trip included Vice Chairman Tony Satterthwaite and Mary Chandler, Vice President – Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility. After a short boat ride, the leaders put on waders and made their way through knee-high water to observe the reefs up close.

Cummins leaders Zach Gillen and Brian Mormino learn about the environmental benefits possible by restoring oyster reefs.
Cummins leaders Zach Gillen (left) and Brian Mormino (right) learn about the environmental benefits possible from restoring oyster reefs.

The reefs are constructed using wire baskets called gabions filled with limestone placed close to the shoreline to ensure the bulk of any erosion from wave action doesn’t get far. The baskets are tall enough so the reef that forms can’t be buried by sediment.

Over time, oysters cluster on the baskets and fuse together, creating rock-like reefs that provide habitat for other marine life. The oysters in the project are protected by law and cannot be harvested.

“I was really surprised by how quickly new reefs can be implemented,” said Zach Gillen, General Manager – Cummins Sales and Service North America. “Large reef extensions can take place in less than a year and they are definitely making a difference.”

Brian Mormino, Cummins’ Executive Director – Technical & Environmental Systems, said the trip left him with a renewed appreciation for the knowledge and dedication of The Nature Conservancy, and the complexity of the challenge moving forward.

The effort has stakeholders extending some 800 miles from north to south in occupations ranging from farming to shipping and commercial fishing. The initiative is further complicated by  flooding to the north and hurricanes to the south. 

“It’s one thing to know about a challenge and another to see it,” Mormino said. “I think the trip strengthened our commitment to what we’re doing, and our desire to do more.”

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Cummins emphasizes STEM in global celebrations of International Day of the Girl

President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey tours the Columbus Engine Plant with students from Brown County High School.

Cummins Inc. employees around the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl earlier this month with virtual and in-person events to highlight the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

STEM education naturally integrates critical thinking and language skills that enrich a child’s education. Yet more can be done to make STEM accessible to more girls globally and provide diverse representation.

Each of Cummins’ key regions hosted activities the week of Oct. 10, many of which incorporated employees’ children or connected them with students in the community. One young girl in India who participated in a Cummins event said, “Today was another step in getting to know myself better and what I want for my future.”

Research indicates that girls with role models in STEM are 1.4 times more likely to pursue opportunities in these fields. All the Cummins events were designed to encourage more girls to pursue STEM careers. For example:

  • In Beijing, China, more than 2,000 Cummins employees participated in delivering STEM educational programs to young female students. Nathan Stoner, Vice President of the China Area Business Organization for Cummins, gave an opening speech. The local Community Involvement Team launched a virtual STEM course for primary school students located thousands of kilometers away.
  • In San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 110 Cummins employees held a STEM fair for 300 students from five nearby schools. Together with two nonprofits, they provided STEM experiments, Lego builds, robotics information, a research and development tour, virtual reality experiences and testimonials from female Cummins engineers.
  • At several sites in Brazil, more than 100 Cummins employees offered plant tours to almost 300 children and teenagers so they could see female workers playing important roles in technical areas. Women in the technical field talked about their careers and highlighted the importance of STEM education for women and girls. They also participated in STEM activities, such as programming and robotics.
  • In Zambia, more than 250 students from a local secondary school participated in a STEM engagement session with Cummins employees.  

In Cummins’ headquarters community of Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey (photo above) joined several Cummins employees in meeting with 15 high school students from nearby Brown County. Together they visited the company’s Columbus Engine Plant, touring the battery assembly line and saw a Cummins electric test truck.

They also toured the Additive Manufacturing lab, which produces 3D-printed metal parts. The day helped expose the students to a wide range of STEM opportunities within Cummins – from manufacturing associates, research and development lab technicians, service engineering, technical administrative associates, trainers and more. 

The team talked about the challenging and interesting careers in these areas and that starting a STEM career doesn’t require a college degree, as apprenticeships and two-year degrees are common.

 “It was great to be able to spend the day with young girls interested in STEM and to show them what manufacturing entails here at Cummins,” said Hayley McMahan, Senior Manufacturing Engineer at Cummins.

 “One of the things I love most about my job is being able to share my experience with other women to empower and encourage them to get involved in manufacturing,” she added. “Events like these are what will help increase the female workforce in manufacturing!”

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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