Gap Score

With demonstrable ties to the bottom line, sustainability is core to the way 3M creates value. There is no separate sustainability initiative or unit; rather it is central to all its business activities. Though widely recognized for its corporate responsibility efforts and sustainable business practices, 3M fell short on consumer perception this year while receiving a higher score for sustainability performance. The past year brought about numerous awards for 3M, including the SolarWorld Sustainability Award, a Sustained Excellence Award from the US EPA, and recognition from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. 3M has clearly outlined goals that it wishes to achieve by 2015—goals such as reducing volatile air emissions by 15 percent, reducing waste by 10 percent, improving energy efficiency by 25 percent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent, and developing water conservation plans. Its operational performance received a higher score for sustainability this year: Water use intensity decreased in 2013, as did toxic release intensity and greenhouse gas emissions intensity. Factors that led to its lower score this year: The company’s GHG emissions intensity increased in 2012; toxic emissions intensity, however, slowed its decline in 2012. 3M’s Products & Services are also reported in a qualitative fashion, greater transparency via quantified disclosure's would benefit the brand's performance.