Advancing Sustainability in Times of Adversity: 3M's 2021 Sustainability Report
3M published its 2021 Sustainability Report today, offering a close look at how the challenges and changes of 2020 ultimately strengthened its commitment to sustainability.
“3M has a long history of applying our science and working with employees, customers, governments, and organizations, to find solutions,” said Gayle Schueller, 3M senior vice president and chief sustainability officer. “It is this approach that helped us advance toward our goals—and set even more ambitious ones—in times of adversity.”
Progress highlights for 3M’s 2025 Sustainability Goals
- To advance Science for Circular, 3M continued to close production loops and innovate with materials to reduce its overall waste and help others do the same. Progress highlights include:
- Reduced manufacturing waste by 9.98%, toward goal of 10% reduction (indexed to sales)
- 42.9% of manufacturing sites had zero landfill waste, exceeding goal of 30%
- To advance Science for Climate, 3M furthered decarbonization in its operations and collaborated with customers to help reduce their collective footprints. Progress highlights include:
- Increased renewable energy to 35.4% of total electricity use, toward goal of 50%
- Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 71.1% below baseline, ahead of goal of 50% below 2002 baseline
- To advance Science for Community, 3M innovated new approaches and solutions to fight the pandemic and took significant steps to address social equity within its enterprise and beyond (further detailed in 3M’s inaugural Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report). Progress highlights include:
- Invested $87.9M in total global giving
- Increased pipeline of diverse talent in management from 32.6% to 43.2%, toward goal of doubling the pipeline
Expanding 3M’s positive global impact
3M built on the positive momentum of its actions in 2020 with an invigorating start to 2021. In February, the company announced that it will invest approximately $1 billion over the next 20 years to accelerate three new environmental goals. 3M committed to be carbon neutral across its global operations (a footprint that touches more than 70 countries) by 2050 and aims to rapidly reduce its emissions on the way there, achieving a 50% reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2040 (from a 2019 baseline). 3M also pledged to reduce water use by 25% at its facilities by 2030—targeting interim reductions of 10% by 2022 and 20% by 2025 (from a 2019 baseline)—and return higher quality water to the environment after use in manufacturing operations. The company expects to install state-of-the-art purification technology by the end of 2023 and be fully operational by 2024 at its largest water-using locations. Combined, 3M’s water goals will reduce use by 2.5 billion gallons (approximately 9.5 billion liters) each year.
On Earth Day in April, 3M launched another ambitious environmental goal and committed to reduce its dependence on new plastic made from petroleum by 125 million pounds (nearly 56,700 metric tons) within five years. By innovating new designs for both its products and packaging—using recycled content, bio-based plastic, or decreasing plastic use altogether—3M can help advance a global circular economy.
Collaborating for a better future
As 3M moves into the remainder of 2021, advancing sustainability and positive impact through its operations, customers, suppliers, communities, and employees remains a key focus.
“We appreciate the many 3Mers across the globe who remain committed to helping address the world’s biggest challenges, as well as our customers and partners who help us put sustainable solutions in action,” said Schueller. “We look forward to sharing our continued progress and how we can work together to build a more sustainable and resilient world.”