Sustaining our business, and our planet, means protecting natural resources and empowering individuals and communities throughout the world to encourage progress. And above all else, it means uniting under a common goal: improve every life.
Imagine a world where every life is improved where natural resources are reliably available, people have access to education and opportunity, and communities are safe, healthy, connected and thriving.
We aim to help make that world a reality. Improving every life is an exciting endeavor and our purpose.
This is the continued story of our purpose:
At 3M, we look at Sustainability in terms of shared global needs and the future of our business.
As the population grows, particularly in emerging economies, challenges like energy availability and security, raw material scarcity, human health and safety, education, and development must be addressed to assure people across the globe can lead healthy fulfilling lives. We recognize that our impact includes that of our own operations as well as the far greater impacts we can make through our efforts in local communities and for our customers through the products we offer.
The world’s population is growing larger, living longer and consuming more. With this increased pressure on our finite natural resources and materials, we must move beyond low-cost, recyclable materials to renewable products. Companies that address this issue not only help the planet, but they also gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
3M has worked on this challenge for decades and will continue to innovate into the future, developing renewable alternatives for impacted resources, revolutionizing recyclable materials and becoming more sustainable.
People consume it, farm with it and manufacture products with it. Reducing water consumption and improving water quality are important elements of environmental stewardship.
Water is our world’s most valuable natural resource. Despite water’s prevalence, freshwater makes up only 2.5 percent of our total global water supply. A majority of freshwater is used for irrigation purposes, but nearly 30 percent of it is used for domestic consumption and industrial functions. Aging infrastructure and increased demand places a premium on clean, accessible water for 3M, our customers and communities around the world.
Some of our customers are finding it difficult to source or deliver clean, accessible water. We can help them solve this problem by developing technology that increases water efficiencies and improves quality.
Access to a dependable energy supply directly affects all businesses and communities. Energy usage and climate concerns require systematic change, and we’re here to drive that forward. From air emissions to fossil fuels, 3M takes a proactive and collaborative approach to addressing energy demand and climate change in our operations and for our customers. We partner with our customers to understand their needs and address those needs. The issues around effective use of energy resources and climate change are complex and interconnected.
At 3M, we are focused on seeking solutions that promote energy conservation, clean energy infrastructure, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We already have several products and technologies that reduce the impact of energy use promote energy efficiency, and help our customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Our goal is to continue developing and implementing global concepts for the greatest long-term impact.
Global health and safety issues are prevalent in workplaces around the world. Food poisoning and water-borne illnesses lead to the deaths of three million people across the globe each year. At the same time, approximately one of every 20 hospitalized patients in low- and middle- income countries will contract an infection while under medical care.
Governments, corporations and consumers are driving global demand for safety, protection, healthcare and food safety solutions. Creative innovation, technology, education and collaboration are all critical if we are to tackle these human health and workplace safety concerns.
For decades, 3M has had entire business divisions focused on creating products and services for human health, protection, security and safety. At the same time, the company has embraced this commitment in its own operations.
Global unemployment rates are expected to remain steady through 2017, particularly among youth. Today’s job market has fewer opportunities, with most available jobs too specialized for young people and recent graduates. As a technology company, 3M recognizes the importance of well-trained science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates we need young minds to step into specialized roles and help our company solve future challenges.
At 3M, we look at Sustainability in terms of shared global needs and the future of our business. As the population grows, particularly in emerging economies, challenges like energy availability and security, raw material scarcity, human health and safety, education, and employment must be addressed to assure people across the globe can lead healthy fulfilling lives.
For this reason, our materiality assessment is a vital component of our Sustainability strategy and reporting, whether the issues are a result of our own activities or our business relationships and is based on a robust, stakeholder-driven approach. By understanding the critical issues from both internal and external perspectives, we can deepen our social license to operate and develop corporate strategy, goals, targets, programs, initiatives and a stakeholder engagement strategy to advance Sustainability globally.
Data provided in our Sustainability Report includes information on issues that were found through the materiality assessment to have the highest potential to impact our reputation and that are of great importance to internal and external stakeholders. Because we are a diversified company several other environmental-related topics and performance indicators relevant to various sectors of the company are also included in the report. 3M’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) reviews and approves our Sustainability Report.
Our 2025 Sustainability Goals were developed from our 2014 materiality assessment.