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Environmental Health and Safety

Protecting our social and physical environment is one of 3M's core values. At 3M Columbia, we achieve this through our commitment to proactive environmental management.

Environmental Health and Safety Management System
3M Columbia's EHS Management System promotes sound environmental management. It helps us to manage the environmental footprint of our operations, drive sustainable growth, and address the expectations of our stakeholders. These stakeholders include our employees, customers, regulators, environmental groups, and the communities surrounding our plant.

  • 3M Columbia has established comprehensive Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems to insure that we implement appropriate and effective measures to insure a safe and healthy work place and minimize our environmental footprint. The effectiveness of our EHS systems are monitored using internal auditing practices and independent third party auditing organizations.
  • An on-site team of EHS professionals collaborate with business teams to insure that potential EHS issues are identified and addressed in a predictive manner. This insures that business plans anticipate and address potential issues without risk to our customers with work place safety and the community in mind.

Our EHS Management System:

  • Includes an integrated, holistic system that anticipates and addresses long-term issues and drives continuous improvement.
  • Promotes a strategic planning process that integrates EHS issues into business planning.
  • Includes a process for identifying issues, developing formal action plans, setting goals and measuring results.

Sustainable Development and Pollution Prevention
3M pioneered the concept of pollution prevention with the creation of the pollution prevention pays (3P) program in 1975. The 3P program is based on the reality that pollution prevention is more environmentally effective, technically sound and economical than conventional pollution control equipment. Natural resources, energy and money are used to build conventional pollution controls, and more resources are consumed operating them. Conventional controls are temporarily and do not eliminate the problem. 3P seeks to eliminate pollution at the source through product reformulation, process modification, equipment redesign, and the recycling and reuse of waste materials.

Respecting Our Social and Physical Environment

  • A strong environmental ethic is engrained in 3M's culture. More than 30 years ago, 3M recognized the need to address potential environmental issues at the corporate level. It was during that same period that 3M Columbia was established with environmental protection as a foundation principle for the site. Today we demonstrate our environmental commitment by striving to develop and produce products that meet customer needs while respecting our physical environment.
  • Now, more than 30 years later, 3P continues to encourage employees to find innovative ways to minimize waste and reduce costs. 3M has progressed beyond the demands of regulatory compliance by implementing policies and programs that significantly reduced waste, emissions and other environmental impacts.
  • Pollution prevention and sustainable development is a cornerstone of 3M Columbia's operations. Since 1990 3M Columbia has implemented over 50 projects that have reduced waste generation rates by over 90% from 2,573 ton in 1990 to 223 tons in 2007. During this same period air emissions were reduced by over 95% from 206 tons in 1990 to 6 tons in 2007. These programs and achievements are a tremendous source of pride and satisfaction for the 3M Columbia team. 3M Columbia has recognized for these accomplishments by community leaders, as well as local state and national regulatory regulators.

Key Environmental Accomplishments

3M Columbia's teams have received multiple 3M's Chairman's EHS Leadership Awards for achievements worldwide. Regulatory agencies, third party auditing organizations, and benchmarking activities with peer companies have recognized 3M Columbia's excellence in Environmental Health and Safety performance is multiple areas:

  • Regulatory Agencies
    • 100% Compliance with regulatory requirements and permits
    • U.S. OSHA VPP & EPA Performance Track comments:
      • Employee Knowledge and Skills - “3M Columbia employees have exemplary EHS skills and knowledge.”
      • Management Commitment - "The management of 3M is strongly committed to safety and health."
      • Machine Guarding - "The Columbia site has an excellent machine guarding program."
      • Housekeeping Program - "The housekeeping at this facility is exceptional in all aspects."
      • Engineering Controls - "The hierarchy of hazard controls is well utilized at the 3M Columbia facility."
  • 3M Leadership
    • Air Pollution Control and Emission Reductions
    • Environmental Process Design and Water Recycle
    • Waste Management
    • Chemical Safety
  • Industry Benchmarking and Third party auditors' “Best Practices”:
    • Pollution Prevention and Recycling
    • Chemical and Waste Management
    • Wastewater Treatment


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