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  • Climate Change

    Climate Change Intro

    Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been a longtime priority for us. To date, we've cut worldwide, absolute GHG emissions 72% from 1990 - 2011.

    We've achieved these reductions—of gases included in the Kyoto protocol as well as others not included—through energy conservation, improvements to our manufacturing processes, and pollution control equipment.

    Tracking our progress

    Rigorous GHG accounting systems and accounting goals are key components of our GHG management strategy. We develop an annual inventory of our GHGs worldwide using the World Resource Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development GHG Protocol.

    Worldwide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Chart

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    Increasing energy efficiency

    Consuming energy generated by fossil fuels creates GHGs. So we've worked hard to use less energy. Our efforts date to 1973, when we formed our Energy Management Department. Since then, we've cut energy consumption indexed to net sales in our U.S. operations by 82%. We cut our worldwide energy use indexed to net sales 49% between 2000 and 2012. We continue to adopt new methods of improving energy efficiency, including the use of Six Sigma methodology and raising the importance of energy efficiency throughout the company.

    Just the Facts

    Emissions Reductions

    By replacing the fume incinerator at our plant in Brookings, South Dakota, with more efficient pollution control technology, we now capture and destroy an additional 1.3 million pounds of solvent vapor annually at that location. Natural gas used in the process has been reduced by 84%, and GHG emissions have been reduced by 11,684 tons.

    85% Reduction of Natural Gas

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    We're Investing—and Innovating—in Renewable Energy

    One way we avoid creating GHGs is by purchasing energy from alternative sources. We've purchased wind energy at our Austin, Texas, facility since 2001. Last year about 30% of our energy use at the location was from wind.

    Our plant in Perth, Canada, has installed a 2,000-square-foot solar wall on the south side of a warehouse. The solar wall is expected to displace 329 million BTUs of electricity for the site annually. It will preheat the building's air and reduce transmission loss.

    We're also developing new ways to capture and use renewable energy through our Renewable Energy Division. We're helping to transform the fields of wind and solar energy from a wellspring of development to the mainstream of commercialization with ingenious and practical ideas for improving performance, quality, and reducing costs.

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    Understanding product carbon footprints

    A product carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide and other GHGs released when a product is made, shipped, stored, used, and disposed of by the consumer. Today, no generally accepted system exists to measure these emissions on a product basis. That's why we're working with the World Resource Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, peer companies, governments, and environmental organizations to develop a common system. Greenhouse Gas Management Policy. (PDF, 33.67KB)

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    Climate Change
    Solutions Catalog

    Climate Change Solutions Catalog

    Download the catalog (PDF, 8.6MB)

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    3M™ Wind Tape 8608 Transparent

    3M™ Wind Tape 8608 Transparent

    Helps protect the leading edge of blades against erosion, rain, and other particles in the air that can cause deterioration of the blade and thus a decrease in turbine output.

    Learn more about 3M Wind Tape

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    Filtrete™ Commercial HVAC Filters

    Filtrete™Commercial HVAC Filters

    Long filter life (two to four times that of a standard pleated panel filter) provides less waste on an annual basis. Small package size reduces handling, disposal volume, storage, space, and shipping cost. Learn more about Filtrete

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    A look back at significant milestones from 3M’s rich sustainability legacy.


    Product Spotlight

    Product Spotlights

    3M’s propensity to innovate is our most effective way to promote change.

    Sustainable projects.

    Making a Difference

    Making a Difference

    3M has a commitment to connecting with people—our most valuable resource.

    Community works.

    Goals and Progress

    Goals and Progress

    3M reveals its targets and performance metrics for sustainability.

    Dashboard of data.