Sustainable Engineering


Design for Sustainability

We integrate sustainability into our engineering processes by designing and building our products with sustainable materials and by minimizing materials of concern that pose health, safety or environmental risks. We’re especially focused on cadmium and hexavalent chromium, two toxic materials that the Department of Defense, government agencies and international organizations are working to reduce the use of.

Partnering with Customers, Universites and Suppliers on Alternatives

Raytheon has been working with universities, suppliers and standards organizations over the past several years to develop, qualify and standardize cadmium-free and hexavalent chromium-free alternatives. This is a challenging task given the high performance standards required by the many aerospace and defense products that we manufacture that operate in harsh environments.

Eliminating Cadmium and Hexavalent Chromium




Cadmium effectively protects components from corrosion, conducts electricity and improves durability. As such, it is used in a large number of aerospace and defense products, systems, and parts to treat such surfaces as the lightweight connectors Raytheon uses in many designs.

Hexavalent chromium is a compound that inhibits corrosion on metal surfaces and is commonly used in chromate conversion coatings on aluminum, zinc and cadmium. It is also added to certain paints and sealants to protect against corrosion.

Most new military contracts restrict or control the use of cadmium and hexavalent chromium compounds, and over the last several years we have made significant progress implementing alternatives. At the end of 2017, 94 percent of the materials and parts in Raytheon’s standard parts/materials list are free of cadmium and hexavalent chromium.

In 2017, we worked to eliminate cadmium-plated connectors from our standard parts list. We reduced the number of cadmium plated connectors by approximately 90 percent and marked the others as “not suitable for new designs” as we continue to seek alternatives.

Design Restrictions

Raytheon’s Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance organization maintains a Design Guidance System. This collection of engineering design rules and guidelines includes rules that ensure reliable products and producible manufacturing.

In 2017, we introduced a new design rule relating to the use of cadmium and hexavalent chromium. It requires design engineers to explicitly describe the rationale for using one of these materials in a specified design and to describe why there is no viable alternative.

The rule also provides engineers with extensive guidance on alternative materials and processing options. There are two beneficial effects to this approach. First, no designer will be permitted to incorporate these materials without properly reviewing the alternative options. Second, this documented rationale will help us reassess prior designs as new, less hazardous options become available.

Materials of Concern

Many of our stakeholders around the world, including government agencies, customers and supply chain partners continue to identify materials and substances that may be considered “materials of concern” based on health, safety and/or environmental concerns. In addition, several international regulations – including the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals in the European Union – require manufacturers and importers to report substances in their products, including parts that were furnished from suppliers. For many years, our engineers have worked closely with stakeholders and academia to research safer alternatives that eliminate such materials of concern from Raytheon’s products and processes. We also strictly uphold a commitment to ethical business conduct and the responsible sourcing of materials throughout our global supply chain.

Compliance, not conflict

We help ensure our suppliers are sourcing materials ethically and responsibly. This includes taking steps to responsibly source tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG minerals) that may originate in conflict regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission reaffirmed Raytheon’s commitment to the Dodd-Frank Act’s Section 1502 conflict minerals rule. We work closely with our global supply chain partners to ensure compliance. In addition, our direct contractual relationships with first-tier suppliers require that they also hold their own suppliers and subcontractors in compliance.


Corporate Responsibility Report

This year’s report provides a detailed overview of Raytheon’s corporate responsibility initiatives, highlighting our efforts to enrich the lives of people, strengthen our performance and reduce our environmental footprint.

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