How 3M Is Helping Mitigate the Widespread Impacts of Climate Change
Earlier this year, 3M shared the megatrends that are shaping the next 5-10 years of life on this planet. To understand the source of these trends, and their impact around the globe, we are taking a deeper dive into the key themes and the ways our people, technology and solutions are working to improve lives.
The impacts of climate change are widespread, and its risks extend beyond any one continent, industry, or species. Warmer temperatures are lengthening peak seasons and expanding geographic ranges for many diseases. Extreme weather events are growing in frequency causing significant, and often disparate, economic impacts. Earth’s ecosystems face collapse and biodiversity is threatened as nearly one million species currently face extinction.
Amidst this backdrop, the global population is working hard to battle and emerge from a pandemic and address social inequities. By taking a holistic view and approaching these varied global challenges with intention, the stakeholders committed to driving change can be smarter and more effective in creating a healthier and more sustainable world for the future.
At 3M, we believe that by working together we can help drive the systemic change needed to advance climate solutions. Science for Climate is key pillar of our Strategic Sustainability Framework. It’s why we have supported the Paris Agreement (an international landmark treaty with the goal of limiting global warming) since its inception, and are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with scientific recommendations from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We have also incorporated the 2018 findings of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) into our goals, operations, and actions.
To further drive positive impact on our climate, 3M recently announced our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We are aiming to rapidly bend our curve of carbon emissions, targeting a 50% reduction by 2030, an 80% reduction by 2040, and 100% carbon neutrality in our operations by 2050 (using 2019 as our baseline year). We have a strong history of reducing GHG emissions in our operations, and recently achieved Scope 1 and 2 absolute emissions that are 68% below our 2002 emissions levels—while growing our business.
And it’s not just what we’re doing for ourselves—through select product platforms, we’ve helped our customers avoid emitting nearly 60 million metric tons of CO2 in the last four years alone. One sample product is 3M™ Natural Pozzolans, a material that can be used as a partial replacement of cement in concrete. Cement is a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions, and for every ton of natural pozzolans used to displace cement, CO2 emissions can be reduced by an estimated 0.75 tons.
Another way 3M is amplifying our positive impact on the climate is through products, solutions, and facility updates that drive the transition to clean energy. We are committed to powering our global operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2050 and have made significant progress toward this goal. At the end of 2019, nearly a third of our total global electricity use was sourced from renewables, and at the start of 2021, all 3M Poland locations and 3M Canada’s head office in London, Ontario, joined our global headquarters in powering their facilities using 100% renewable sources.
“We are proud of the many ways that 3M science and our enterprise commitments are helping to combat climate change and its extensive impacts,” said Gayle Schueller, 3M Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “By continuing to collaborate with our employees, customers, governments, NGOs and other corporations, I believe we can accelerate the innovative solutions needed to create a more sustainable future for life on our planet.”
To learn more about Adapting to Climate Change, a key theme under the Changing Climates and Resources Megatrend, click here.