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.
As we meet our 2025 goals, we are setting even more ambitious targets.
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.
Since 1932, we’ve been at the forefront of companies adopting programs and policies to ensure environmental protection, social responsibility and economic vitality.
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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