For an industry-leading ninth consecutive year, 3M has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year-Sustained Excellence Award for its comprehensive worldwide energy conservation efforts. No other company has achieved this distinction for that many consecutive years, or as many as nine times.
The awards will be presented today at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. They recognize “a select group of organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year,” according to the EPA. “These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches.”
“Sustained Excellence” is the EPA’s highest ENERGY STAR award.
“3M’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact on a global basis long predates the ENERGY STAR program; in fact, it’s thoroughly embedded in our corporate culture,” says Steve Schultz, 3M’s Corporate Energy manager. “The year-over-year consistency of the company’s ENERGY STAR recognition is a reflection of sweeping corporate initiatives that were instituted 40 years ago and have been vigorously and creatively expanded ever since.”
Among its achievements in 2012, the company:
Earned ISO 50001 energy management certification for two plants (ISO is the Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization, which establishes uniform industry standards worldwide).
Implemented 201 new energy efficiency projects and funded 23 smaller initiatives from a special corporate fund.
Engaged in partnerships to further develop carbon dioxide separation and recycling technologies.
Hosted a “Working with ENERGY STAR” workshop for local manufacturing companies.
Initiated a facility metering project to better track and manage energy use.
Hired a full-time analyst to organize facility energy data and mine it for new efficiency opportunities.
Awarded $225,000 in grants to academic researchers for energy-related studies.
Involved 78 3M facilities in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, collaborating with other industry participants on energy-saving techniques.
Launched an education program to engage students in environmental leadership.
3M first undertook its groundbreaking “3P” program (Pollution Prevention Pays) in 1975, and estimates that 3P innovations since then have reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 72 percent, and prevented more than 3.5 billion pounds of pollution.
“The initiatives undertaken each year are broadly intended not only to continue our own progress but also to share what we’ve learned, and to encourage participation among our industrial suppliers while stimulating new avenues of research in the academic world,” says Schultz. “The overall objective is a better environment through wise energy management.”
3M established a new set of sustainability goals in 2010 to be attained by 2015. Chief among those goals are reduction of volatile air emissions by 15 percent and solid waste by ten percent, and a 25-percent improvement in energy efficiency. The energy-efficiency objective already has been achieved and exceeded.