US-based multinational 3M launches approximately 1,000 new products each year; starting in 2019, 100 percent of them will have sustainability built in: Today, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24), 3M announced its first formal requirement that, beginning in 2019, all new products will include a Sustainability Value Commitment that demonstrates how they drive impact for the greater good.
“Sustainability is at the core of 3M — but we’re looking to do more,” said Chief Technology Officer John Banovetz. “Today at COP24, we are proud to formalize our commitment to this next step in innovating for a sustainable future.”
The impact of 3M’s new product requirement is global in scale: 3M launches approximately 1,000 new products each year, with roughly one-third of its revenue generated from products released in the past five years. Beyond 3M’s own operations, a primary reason for the goal is to help its customers achieve their own sustainability goals. This new product goal creates even more opportunities for the company to collaborate with its customers on solutions that improve lives around the world.
Examples of 3M’s Sustainability Value Commitment for new products include reusability; recyclability; energy, waste and/or water savings; responsible sourcing; and/or renewable materials appropriate to the specific product, from the beginning to the end of each product’s lifecycle. This commitment also includes products with a core purpose of helping to solve an environmental or social challenge, such as improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving worker and patient safety in healthcare and industrial settings. 3M will measure progress and impact of this commitment and report on it annually.
3M invests approximately 6 percent of revenue into research and development, much of it for creating new products. The new requirement will take effect in 2019 and will apply to all five of 3M’s business groups: Health Care, Consumer, Electronics & Energy, Industrial, and Safety & Graphics.
“As a large and diverse global science company with customers spanning many industries and global markets, we have the opportunity to make an even greater impact in sustainability,” said Gayle Schueller, VP and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We’ve made such significant progress on the 2025 Sustainability goals we set in 2015 that we’re raising the bar. The new product goal is an example of the aggressive targets we’ll be setting in coming months, as part our strategic focus on empowering science for Circular, Climate and Community.”
3M has a long-standing commitment to sustainability — from the Pollution Prevention Pays program that began in 1975 to its 2025 Sustainability goals that include water, climate, and energy targets. 3M’s sustainability efforts have kept the company listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 19 consecutive years.
Requiring Sustainability Value Commitments in all new products builds on 3M’s history of creating products that emphasize reuse, recycling and reduced resource use for its operations, and improved quality of life for its customers. Examples include:
- Residential roofing shinglesthat contain smog-reducing granules to improve air quality.
- Automotive electrification solutions, powering the future of mobility
- Disposable respirators that filter air pollution
- Multilayer films that improve solar panel efficacy and increase electronics efficiency
- Scouring solutions that use 100 percent recycled materials
- Novec™ Insulating Gases for the electric power industry that do not have a greenhouse gas impact