3M joins Water Resilience Coalition

Collective action will build on company’s work to improve the environment, reduce water use, and improve water quality

3M has joined the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), taking one more step forward in the company’s ongoing commitment to help nearly two billion people worldwide living in water-stressed and water-scarce communities.

Mike Roman, CEO of 3M, commented: “3M is proactively applying our science and innovation to improve the water supply used in our operations and the communities we serve. We are committed to sharing our expertise on global water solutions, and our participation in the WRC will expand and amplify our efforts.”

By joining the WRC leadership committee and endorsing the United Nations Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, 3M will be working to preserve the world’s freshwater resources and achieve a net positive water impact. It will also be better positioned to advance its ongoing work to improve the environment and build a brighter future around the world.

Jason Morrison, president of the Pacific Institute and head of the CEO Water Mandate, added: “3M’s expertise in science and creative solutions finds a significant space of opportunity in the CEO Water Mandate. Additionally, by being a part of the leadership committee of the Water Resilience Coalition they also join a leading platform on water for businesses that are elevating their ambition and accelerating results through collective action on water.”

In 2020, 3M’s annual evaluation identified 16 facilities in extremely high water-stressed global locations, including locations in France, India, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and the US. After the assessment, work began to understand current baselines and onboarding for those new sites, continuing into H1 2021.

For instance, the company began working with the Juarez Mexico City Water Department in 2016 to receive treated wastewater for onsite services. In 2017, 80% of total water consumed in three out of five buildings was treated or recycled water; and in 2020, the site transitioned the remaining two buildings. It expects to save 10 million litres of water.

The company has also taken steps to reduce water use and improve water quality through installation of technologies at key manufacturing sites worldwide. For example, 3M Decatur in Alabama has installed a non-contact cooling water system that connects the plant’s incoming water infrastructure to local utilities. This reduces the amount of water the plant uses from the Tennessee River by more than 95%, and deepens the facility’s connection with the community where its people live and work.

3M also planned to invest US$1 billion over the next 20 years to achieve its environmental goals, including a commitment to install water purification technology at its largest water-using facilities by the end of 2023 and be fully operational by the end of 2024. These funds build on 3M’s allocation of approximately $55 million for capital projects for environmental purposes in 2020, which include waste reduction and pollution control programmes, such as water usage reduction and water quality improvement equipment, scrubbers, containment structures, solvent recovery units, and thermal oxidizers.