3M Plans $1 Billion in Spending to Cut Emissions, Save Water

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3M Co. plans to spend $1 billion to zero-out emissions in its own operations by 2050 and slash water use, joining the growing ranks of companies pledging to curb emissions linked to climate change.

Achieving such a goal would mean eliminating the roughly 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted by more than 200 manufacturing sites and other locations globally in 2019, plus another 1.3 million metric tons tied to energy purchased by the company. Combined, those emissions are roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 1.2 million passenger cars.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman said 3M will fund both emissions and water-related projects, with costs split evenly between capital expenditures and operating expenses needed to yield actual reductions at its sites. None of the $1 billion in spending will go toward carbon offsets, he said in an interview.

“Our focus has been put the plans in place, make the investments and commit to the engineering and the technology that is going to be needed to bend the curves,” Roman said.

The announcement comes as corporations face mounting pressure globally from investors and governments to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and avert the worst effects of climate change. Several companies including Apple Inc. oil giants such as BP Plc have set themselves on a path to achieve carbon neutrality in coming decades. These companies are, however, addressing all emissions linked the company.

3M’s plan does not encompass indirect emissions linked to its supply chain or by customers using its products, which account for much of 3M’s total carbon emissions, as is the case for many companies. Those emissions totaled 8.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019, according to the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company’s most-recent sustainability report.

The $1 billion earmarked for the efforts will be spent over the next two decades, much of it in the earlier years to achieve an interim goal of cutting carbon emissions in half and reducing water use by 25% by 2030, Roman said.

3M’s carbon neutrality pledge applies to so-called Scope 1 emissions that are produced directly by company facilities and Scope 2, or indirect emissions linked to electricity purchases.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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