Aerial view of a winding street lined with a canopy of trees in an urban setting.


Why it matters

  • The global economy is at a crossroads. Corporations have the opportunity to embrace new circular business models — ones that are regenerative and that replenish natural resources rather than deplete them.

    While transitioning away from current linear business models of “take, make, and waste,” businesses can measure success on the ability to accomplish more with fewer resources — keeping products and materials in use, designing out waste and pollution, and restoring natural systems.

    At 3M, we see the circular economy as an opportunity to inspire leadership, innovation, and disruptive change across all industries, meeting the needs of current and future generations. This is why Science for Circular is one of three pillars of our Strategic Sustainability Framework, focusing on designing solutions that do more with less material to advance a global circular economy. We believe it is our responsibility to carefully integrate renewable and recycled materials in our products and enhance the circularity of water, packaging, and waste in our operations. It is also our responsibility to be strategic, mitigating risks related to these materials along the way.

    The impacts of global climate change have never been more clear. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, elevated pollution levels, poor air quality, and resource scarcity have underscored the urgency with which corporations must act to slow these harmful effects on behalf of our planet and its people.

Our approach

  • At 3M, we strive to use technology and expertise to promote a future where resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated. This means developing solutions that do more with less material, advancing a global circular economy.

    It also means innovating to decarbonize industry, accelerate climate solutions, and improve our environmental footprint.

    We are accelerating our ambitions through bigger long-term and intermediary goals and actions that align with the latest findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We expect to invest heavily in both our efforts to meet our environmental goals, which include achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and in our innovation, adapting our business to grow in sectors that support decarbonization.

    And it means working together — with employees, customers, suppliers, governments, and communities around the world to help drive the systemic change needed.

Our goals

Science for Circular

  • Require a Sustainability Value Commitment (SVC) for every new product1

  • Reduce manufacturing waste by an additional 10%, indexed to sales, by 2025

  • Achieve zero landfill status at more than 30% of manufacturing sites by 2025

  • Reduce global water usage by the following amounts: 10% by 2022, 20% by 2025, and 25% by 2030, indexed to sales2

  • For 3M’s global manufacturing operations, enhance the quality of water returned to the environment from industrial processes by 2030.3,4 Our initial focus is on implementing state-of-the-art water purification technology at the largest water use locations globally and having them operational by 2024

  • Engage 100% of water-stressed/scarce communities where 3M manufactures on community-wide approaches to water management by 2025

  • Reduce dependence on virgin, fossil- based plastic by 125 million pounds by 20255,6

  • Drive supply chain sustainability through targeted raw material traceability and supplier performance assurance by 2025

Science for Climate

  • Help our customers reduce their GHGs by 250 million tons of CO₂ equivalent emissions through the use of 3M products by 2025

  • Improve energy efficiency indexed to net sales by 30% by 2025

  • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 market-based GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040, and achieve carbon neutrality in our operations by 20507

  • Increase renewable energy to 50% of total electricity use by 2025 and to 100% by 2050

  1. For projects passing a ‘gate’ in our new product commercialization process; an SVC describes how the product drives positive impact for our stakeholders in alignment with our Strategic Sustainability Framework.
  2. Expands our previous commitment, which aimed to reduce water use by 10% between 2015 and 2025. 2019 is the baseline measurement year.
  3. By improving the weighted average of priority constituents including select metals, BOD/COD, cyanide compounds, fluoride, total nitrogen, oil & grease, PFAS, solids (TDS/TSS), sulfate, and others.
  4. Water used by manufacturing or industrial processes including all water use not defined as domestic (sanitary, cafeteria, etc.).
  5. Established in 2021.
  6. 2020 is the baseline measurement year.
  7. Expands our previous 2025 goal to stay below 50% of our 2002 baseline, meaning 3M’s 2030 Scope 1 and 2 emissions will now be reduced by more than 85% from 2002 levels. 2019 is the baseline measurement year.

Looking forward

  • Aerial view of a coastal city with watercraft traffic.

    We will continue applying our scientific expertise to improve the lives of our employees, our customers, and our communities. We see the need for businesses to become regenerative to help restore the environment where we live, work, and play.

    Our efforts to meet our goals will continue to leverage the success of our Sustainability Value Commitment and build on our Strategic Sustainability Framework — empowering Science for Circular, Science for Climate, and Science for Community.

    We will work to create a world where nine billion people can thrive by applying boundaryless, collaborative science to provide the products, processes, and systems that improve every life.