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3M - Science for Sustainability

As one of world’s leading science and technology companies, 3M recognises its responsibility to uphold environmental protection and promote social justice. Our products are used by billions of people around the world, and we are committed to innovating to decarbonize industry, accelerate climate solutions,and improve our environmental footprint.

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3M - Science for Sustainability

For many years, 3M has been setting ambitious goals and initiating actions to achieve them, which are documented in our annual Global Impact Reports. We have also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Alongside this, we’ve committed to meeting the 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations, which we categorize into three pillars within 3M’s Sustainability Strategic Framework:

  • Science for Circular – Designing solutions that do more with less material to help create a global circular economy.
  • Science for Climate – Innovating to decarbonise industry, accelerate global climate solutions and improve our environmental footprint.
  • Science for Community – Creating a more positive world through science and inspiring people to join us in our goals.


How are our production facilities are changing?

Our manufacturing teams play a pivotal role in helping us improve the sustainability of our production facilities. Much effort goes into reducing 3M’s energy use and our transition to renewable energy.

Manufacturing relies on water as an important component and even sometimes as a raw material. However, current global use of this vital resource is straining ecosystems. At 3M, we strive to use technology and expertise to promote a future of “water circularity” — a future where water stress is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated.

Our European Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) factories in England, Germany and Poland are all ISO 14001 certified and operate with 100% renewable energy. By 2025, we want to reduce our water use by 20% for production in all plants. In the area of new plastic, we expect to save almost 57,000 tons by 2025 and rely solely on recycling and the use of recycled plastic material.

Reducing packaging and replacing plastic

We are reviewing the materials and plastic inserts used in our packaging to see where we can reduce and replace them. For example, the Aura respiratory product range will contain up to 30% recycled material in the flow wrap and at least 25% recycled content in the valved product, starting in 2024.

We’ve also created Environmental Product Declarations for specific Aura Respirator products to increase the transparency of their carbon footprint.

Another example is the earplugs of the 3M™ 1200 series. They no longer include a hard plastic storage box, recognizing there are people who don’t need them. However, the storage boxes can still be ordered separately if required. The packaging of 3M™ PELTOR™ Active Hearing product range is FSC-certified, which means that products come from responsibly managed forests.

As a general practice, our goal is to minimize packaging material whenever feasible while enhancing the reuse and recycling of materials. We firmly believe that the most sustainable products are those designed to be durable and built for longevity, promoting circularity throughout their lifecycle. 3M Division offers service and maintenance for many products, including welding and active hearing headsets, ensuring they can be used safely and effectively for longer.

Every product developed with Sustainability in Mind.

Environmental protection starts with product development. 3M uses and combines our technologies in unique ways across the company, creating new products and new lines of business. As we do this, we require all 3M products entering the new product commercialization process have a Sustainability Value Commitment that demonstrates how the product drives impact for the greater good.

3M looks at a wide range of aspects including reusability, recyclability, energy savings, waste reduction, water savings, responsible sourcing, and the use of renewable materials appropriate to the specific product, from the beginning to the end of each product’s life cycle.

As part of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, 3M checks our suppliers for fair and humane conditions. We’ve also set up projects for the training and the continuing education of our own employees and customers. Local and regional activities for environmental protection and social projects also play an important role. 3M is committed to delivering on our most material environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities, and we drive this further into the Personal Safety Division (PSD), where our primary objective is to provide products that protect workers.

3M at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP)

3M and UN Climate Change partnered to address climate challenges in 2021 and drive collective solutions. Starting at COP26, 3M worked with the UNFCCC and its partnership network to drive collective action on climate change, social and environmental responsibility aligned with the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

From November 30 to December 12, 2023, 3M had a robust presence at the 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), where we engaged with and learned from our peers, strengthened collaborations with governments, nonprofits, and corporate partners, and leaned into four key themes:

  • Responding with urgency
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Progress through science and technology
  • Action via solutions


Work with us to minimize impacts

While production and work processes are complex, products must always fulfil their value proposition and be economically producible. With our 51 technology platforms and our commitment to scientific methods, data, and facts, we aim to make a significant contribution to environmental stewardship.

We work closely with our customers to provide the necessary data, such as Life Cycle Assessments, and create a roadmap to decreased product impact.

Learn more about the 3M Sustainability Goals or contact your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

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