As environmental concerns and energy efficiency become increasingly top of mind for many people around the world, corporate social responsibility migrates from just a watchword to a strategic initiative for responsible institutions to demonstrate their commitment to these ideals. Together, the actions of consumers, academia, and industry can tremendously impact energy expenditures and conservation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized 3M for a decade of energy management achievements with the EPA ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award for the 10th year in a row. 3M is the only industrial company in the world to attain this privilege.
"It is an honor that the EPA has recognized 3M and provided the framework for corporate energy efficiency," said Steve Schultz, 3M's Corporate Energy Manager. "3M is known for its commitment to innovation, and that commitment doesn't just apply to the products we invent. We have spent the past 10 years, and in fact many years before that, continually seeking out ways that we can improve our processes, raw materials and more in order to achieve greater efficiency and resource savings. Moreover, we endeavor to share our best practices with our constituents in an effort to pay it forward."
This year's award puts 3M in exclusive territory, as no other industrial company has received the "Sustained Excellence" recognition-the EPA's highest ENERGY STAR award-as many times. ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased efficiency. The annual ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through best practices and organization-wide energy savings.
Adding to its achievements, 3M also received Xcel Energy's 2013 Energy Efficiency Expo Award for having the highest gas savings by a commercial customer (nearly 1.8 million therms).
A sampling of 2013 efforts for which EPA recognized 3M includes:
. Implementation of 252 projects, which resulted in savings of $8.79 million and 61,700 metric tons (MT) of CO2
. Development of a strategic initiative to identify and implement projects to make step-change improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency
. Formation of Centers of Excellence to integrate all aspects of sustainability into business strategies across the company
. Bringing energy-saving innovations to diverse markets, and engaging communities globally in energy and sustainability dialogues
These achievements are made possible with the expertise of 3M employees from around the world. To celebrate their accomplishments, 3M is marking Earth Day today with a number of initiatives. Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Branch at the EPA, will address employees on industrial energy efficiency and its role in protecting the environment. Tesla cars, which are made with several 3M technologies, will be displayed at the company's world headquarters in St. Paul to showcase next-generation, sustainable autos. During the day's events, employees will also see examples of sustainable products, like 3M Novec Engineered Fluids; 3M Window Films; and 3M LED Advanced Lighting.
In celebration of 3M's bronze award from the League of American Bicyclists recognizing 3M as a "Bicycle Friendly Company," employees are encouraged to bike to work on Earth Day. Seventy employees participated in the bike to work event in 2013, and 3M is striving to beat that number this year. Additional 3M Earth Day activity includes the opportunity for volunteers to create mobile battery powered lights using 3M Solar Mirror Film, which will ultimately be donated to schoolchildren in Africa through the nonprofit New Vision Renewable Energy. 3M will also match grants for employee donations to New Vision Renewable Energy and The Nature Conservancy during the 3M environmental match period in April.
To reiterate its commitment to corporate responsibility, 3M recently became a member of the United Nations Global Compact. "We are extremely proud of our achievements in energy efficiency and corporate responsibility, and the Compact formalizes that commitment," said Gayle Schueller, 3M's vice president of Global Sustainability. "We look forward to building an even stronger record in the years to come."
The U.N. Global Compact outlines 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and is the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world. While 3M has always acted in accordance with the core values represented by the Compact, this formal commitment aligns the company's business practices and strategies with these 10 principles, and to publicly report progress against them.