3M sustainability goals and progress
We've been setting and meeting goals for 25 years

Looking at Sustainability in terms of shared global needs

Science operates within a set of rules. It follows specific methods. It delivers proof and proves cause and effect. But science also breaks boundaries, challenges the status quo, and improves lives.

As a company rooted in scientific exploration, and the belief that every problem has a solution, we are applying our technological expertise to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges on raw materials, water, energy and climate, health and safety, and education and development. The challenges we must tackle for a sustainable future don’t always follow clear rules or methods — but we see them clearly. They are broad. They are interrelated. They are solvable. We know science can help tackle them.

We are looking at ways to build purpose into leadership and talent development across the company, to recognize business opportunities that help the company grow while addressing societal issues. We cut across industries and siloes to collaborate with suppliers, customers, and communities by working together toward building a more resilient world.   We have a unique opportunity to apply our passion and collaboration to help the world prosper.

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Increasing our Commitments

As we meet our 2025 goals, we are setting even more ambitious targets.

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Progress toward our 2025 Goals

The true measure of our progress against the 2025 Sustainability Goals is in the numbers. Frankly, we have done well in some areas and need to do better in others. And though some goals may have been overly ambitious, we are not about to lower our sights. Instead, we will explore new ways to raise the bar. 

  • Looking up at trees in a forest

    Raw Materials

    Respect our planet’s resources and reimagine waste as a nutrient to ensure we have abundance for future generations.

    Goal: Invest to develop more sustainable materials and products to help our customers reach their environmental goals. We recognize some of our greatest positive impact can be realized by helping our customers improve their environmental footprint. For that reason, an increased focus on delivering more sustainable materials and components is core to our innovation and Sustainability strategy.

    Goal: Reduce manufacturing waste by an additional 10%, indexed to sales. We’ll continue to drive ‘zero waste’ thinking with our product designs and process technologies, as well as waste reduction work at our manufacturing operations. 

    Goal: Achieve “zero landfill” status at more than 30% of manufacturing sites. In addition to our waste reduction goal, we plan to increase repurposing, reusing and recycling of potential waste materials to divert from landfill disposal.

    Goal: Drive supply chain Sustainability through targeted raw material traceability and supplier performance assurance. To continue to advance important environmental and social expectations of our suppliers, we’ll use a comprehensive risk-based approach to engage critical supply chains for collaboration and improvement.

  • Underwater bubbles


    Promote clean water for everyone, everywhere so that every person, business and community has the water they need to thrive.

    Goal: Reduce global water use by an additional 10%, indexed to sales. Building upon our previous 42% reduction in water usage between 2005 and 2014, we will continue to improve in managing and conserving water across our global manufacturing footprint by driving water reduction and conservation process and technology changes within our operations.

    Goal: Engage 100% of water-stressed/scarce communities where 3M manufactures on community-wide approaches to water management. Partner with local communities to advance water recycling and conservation. Ultimately, we aim to help these communities build and manage their own efforts toward access to clean water into the future.

  • Bird's eye view of fields

    Climate & Energy

    Transform the way the world uses energy because it impacts the climate, and the climate impacts everyone.

    Goal: Improve energy efficiency indexed to net sales by 30%. Energy efficiency improvements will address rising energy use, costs and climate impacts. Building on our 50% improvement in energy efficiency between 2000 and 2014, a 30% energy efficiency improvement will keep our global energy use nearly flat over the next 10 years, as the Company grows.

    Goal: Increase renewable energy to 25% of total electricity use. Nearly 800,000 MWh of renewable energy use will be added globally. The primary sources of renewable energy will be wind and solar.

    Goal: Ensure GHG emissions at least 50% below our 2002 baseline, while growing our business. 3M is in a leadership position due to our early actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Between 2002 and 2014, we voluntarily achieved a 64% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to continuing that leadership for another 10 years, even as we grow the company in order to help our customers address the issue of climate change.

    Goal: Help our customers reduce their GHGs by 250 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions through use of 3M products. While 3M has made significant GHG emission reductions across our global operations, we realize we can make far greater contributions by helping our customers reduce their GHG emissions through the use of our products. In 2014 alone, about 15 million metric tons of CO2 were avoided for our customers through use of 3M product platforms. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 3.1 million cars.

  • A man wearing safety gear welds

    Health & Safety

    Improve the health and safety of people worldwide so we can all focus on what matters most to us.

    Goal: Provide training to 5 million people globally on worker and patient safety. Proper use of health and safety products is critical to infection prevention, personal safety and overall health. Building on our existing customer education program, we seek to help educate individuals on worker and patient safety in both healthcare and industrial settings.

  • A young girl looking at a tablet

    Education & Development

    Support empowerment and enrichment to provide people everywhere the opportunity to live life to its fullest.

    Goal: Invest cash and products for education, community and environmental programs. We will continue to invest in increasing access for people worldwide to science, technology, engineering, math and business skills, and to improving lives through investments in environment, health and safety programs. Cash, in-kind donations, sponsorships, and volunteerism will remain core to our 3Mgives strategy. Since 1953, we have invested $1.65 billion in cash and product donations in 3M communities.

    Goal: 100% participation in employee development programs to advance individual and organizational capabilities. Our employees are encouraged and supported to pursue areas of interest and develop career paths and opportunities aligned with those interests. 

    Goal: Double the pipeline of diverse talent in management to build a diverse workforce. Increasing women and diversity in every region in which we operate is a core part of our Sustainability strategy. We recognize that doubling our diverse talent in management will help build a diverse pipeline for executive leadership as well.

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  • Milestones along our journey
    3M milestones

    Since 1932, we’ve been at the forefront of companies adopting programs and policies to ensure environmental protection, social responsibility and economic vitality.

    Expand to see our complete sustainability timeline.

    1932: 3M provides short-term and long-term disability coverage, a pension plan and an unemployment insurance plan.

    1949: The first 3M stock purchase plan for employees is introduced.

    1951: 3M Safety and Security Department is created.

    1953: 3M Foundation is established, one of the first corporate charitable foundations in America.

    1961: 3M Water and Sanitary Engineering Department is created.

    1963: 3M Carlton Society is created to honor outstanding technical employees.

    1964: First formally trained industrial hygienist and health physicist join 3M’s Medical Department.

    1970: Product Environmental assessments begin. Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control (EE&PC) organization is formed. Industrial hygiene and health physics services expand to 3M operations outside the United States.

    1971: 3M Employee/Retiree Matching Gift Program is established for charitable contributions.

    1973: Employee van pools are created. Energy Management Department is formed.

    1974: 3M is among the first corporations to offer an in-house Employee Assistance Program, providing personal education and consultation services for employees and their families.

    1975: 3M Environmental Policy is adopted by the 3M Board of Directors. Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) Program is formed. First-year results: 19 projects prevented 73,000 tons of air emissions, 2,800 tons of sludge.

    1977: 3M and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sponsor four conferences on pollution prevention.

    1980: 3M Safety and Health Policy is first adopted.

    1981: Environmental Audit Program begins.

    1984: World Environment Center presents 3M with the First Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Environmental Achievements. 3M is the first corporation to offer sick child care services to employees. During the same year, 3M begins administering the 3M Poll to U.S. employees and the Standard Opinion Survey globally every two years to measure employee opinion. 3M CARES (Community Action Retired Employee Services) Program is created to bring together retiree volunteers under the 3M banner and match them to specific needs.

    1986: 3M Community Volunteer Award is established.

    1987: 3M Corporate Safety, Health and Environmental Committee is formed. 3M Air Emission Reduction Program is launched.

    1988: 3M Ozone Depleting Chemical phase out policy is adopted.

    1989: 3M Year 2000 Environmental goals are established and publicly announced. 3M Employee Safety, Health and Environmental Policy is adopted. National Wildlife Federation presents its Environmental Achievement Award to 3M.

    1990: Recycled paper Post-it® Notes are introduced. 3M 16-point Safety Program is approved.

    1991: Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award is received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    1993: 3M goal of 70% reduction in worldwide air emissions is achieved. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Corporate Wildlife Award is received.

    1994: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presents Achievement Award for 3M's successful participation in the 33/50 Voluntary Air Emission Reduction Program.

    1995: 3M launches world's first CFC-free metered dose inhaler for the treatment of asthma. 3M initiates program to reduce injuries and illnesses by 50% in four years. 3M receives the National Medal of Technology Award, the highest award for technical achievement in the United States.

    1996: President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development selects 3M's 3P Program for the President's Sustainable Development Award. 3M Environmental Management System is formalized. 3M Global Safety and Health Plan is developed.

    1997: 3M formalizes Life Cycle Management System to ensure the consideration of Environmental, health and safety issues in new product development. 3M scientists receive Heroes of Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society for the development of 3M Hydrofluoroethers (HFEs) as a CFC replacement. 3M initiates Lifescapes program to help employees protect their health, safety, and well-being at work and at home. 3M initiates Lifescapes program to help employees protect their health, safety, and well-being at work and at home.

    1998: 3M sets safety and health goals to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses 25% a year for three years.

    1999: Hamburger Umweltinstitut of Germany ranks 3M second in eco-performance among 50 largest chemical-using companies worldwide.

    2000: 3M GIVES (Grants Initiated by Volunteer Service) is established.

    2001: Environmental Targets for 2005 are launched. Environmental dimension is added to the 3M Contributions Program. 3M receives the National Points of Light Foundation Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service.

    2002: 3M is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as the leader in the Industrial Goods and Services category. 3M is included on the FTSE Socially Responsible Investment Index. 3M receives the "Vision for America" Award from Keep America Beautiful.

    2003: 3M is awarded the Clean Air Excellence Award in the Category of Regulatory/Policy Innovations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    2004: 3M is awarded a 2004 Energy Star award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy for its leadership in energy management.

    2005: 3M is awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Protection Award. 3M completes its 2000–2005 Corporate Environmental Goals program, exceeding each of its targets, and launches a new set of Corporate Environmental Goals for 2005–2010. 3M is awarded the 2005 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) Award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. 3M is selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first ever corporate-level National Environmental Performance Track Outreach Award winner.

    2008: 3M establishes its Renewable Energy Division. 3M establishes new Strategic Sustainability Principles.

    2010: In the fall of 2010, 3M teamed up with the U.S. EPA and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to bring the EPA's ENERGY STAR Exhibit House to the Minnesota State Fair. Check out this video.

    2011: 3M establishes its 2015 Sustainability Goals. 3M is recognized for the eighth year in a row by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy by winning the Sustained Excellence Award for Energy Management in recognition of continuous improvement in energy management.

    2013: 3Mers volunteered more than 250,000 hours and 3M donated more than $61.6 million in global cash and in-kind product donations.

    2014: 3M joined the United Nations Global Compact. And for worldwide energy-conservation efforts, 3M earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® award. This was the 10th consecutive year 3M received the honor, an industry first.

    2015: 2025 Sustainability Goals build off ET’10 goals

    2018: Listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, recognizing Sustainability leadership, for the 19th consecutive year

    2019: 3M embeds Sustainability Value Commitment in new product launch process

    2019: 3M flips the switch to 100 percent renewable electricity

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