3M to showcase collaborative pilot program for water-stressed basins and direct air capture technology at Climate Week NYC; company will share science-driven climate innovations and efforts in reducing its operational footprint

Sample article from our Sustainability & Social Responsibility

September 20, 2023 (press release) –

3M will highlight a collaborative pilot program for water-stressed basins and a direct air capture technology this week during Climate Week NYC. In a series of engagements, the company will share how its science is driving climate innovation and advancing improvements in its own operational footprint.   

"At 3M, we recognize the urgency for delivering scalable climate solutions across various industries," said Dr. Gayle Schueller, 3M senior vice president and chief sustainability officer. "Climate Week NYC provides us with the platform to ideate and strategize alongside fellow climate champions, prioritizing how we can expedite implementation of science-based solutions for this pressing global issue." 

At the CEO Water Mandate UNGA Corporate Water Stewardship Half-Day Event on Wednesday, Sept. 20, Dr. Schueller will discuss 3M’s participation in the first net positive water impact (NPWI) pilot program for the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC). The company will be collaborating to reduce water stress in target basins on three dimensions: availability (quantity), quality, and access—applying takeaways from the NPWI Piloting Workshop it hosted at World Water Week in August. The WRC program will also assess how NWPI is best evaluated, informing a guidance document that will be published in January 2024 and made available for companies around the world to operationalize. 

“The Water Resilience Coalition’s net positive water impact program will provide critical insight for our work across 100 priority water-stressed basins around the world, and the resulting guidance materials will help scale global adoption of our ambitions,” said André Villaça Ramalho, Water Resilience Coalition Coordinator. “As a leadership member, 3M provides vital support and expertise to the coalition—accelerating measurable watershed outcomes and building long-term water resiliency.” 

Accelerating the global reduction of water use by 3M 

The NPWI pilot program builds on work within 3M to reduce overall water use—targeting a 25% reduction by 2030—and return higher quality water to the environment after use in operations. 3M is accelerating progress toward these goals through process improvements and the installation of new technologies, and reached a 16.8% reduction in water use at the close of 2022 (benchmarked to 2019 levels). 

“3M prides itself on our global leadership in innovating new ways to apply science to accelerate our environmental commitments,” said Schueller. “With the expertise of 3M scientists and continued corporate investment, we will maintain momentum toward our water goals in our facilities and empower others to do the same, including collaborative efforts with global partners like WRC.” 

Showcasing climate innovation at Climate Week NYC 

In addition to the CEO Water Mandate event, 3M will spend Climate Week NYC highlighting new developments in key areas of climate innovation, including direct air capture (DAC) technology, and convening stakeholders from across industries to discuss how materials science can accelerate climate solutions. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 3M will present with Svante Technologies, Inc. (Svante) at The Nest Climate Campus. Cory Sauer, 3M’s global carbon capture lead, will share the stage with Claude Letourneau, Svante’s president and chief executive officer, to discuss how the two companies are accelerating the development and scalability of DAC solutions, which can trap carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere and sequester it. In collaboration with Svante, the world leader in the solid sorbent method of carbon capture and removal, 3M is developing a proprietary material called Sorbents-on-a-Roll—or SOAR. Sheets of this nanoengineered material are to be stacked in parallel layers in Svante’s carbon removal filters.  

3M is currently scaling up production of SOAR material, allowing the material to be built into filters for DAC field trials in 2024. By leveraging each company’s capabilities—including 3M’s ability to produce advanced filtration technology at-scale—3M and Svante believe it will be feasible to capture millions of tons of CO2 from diverse DAC facilities around the world. 

In its own facilities, 3M is building momentum toward its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 3M’s greenhouse gas emissions are down 79% from 2002 levels, including a 38% decrease from levels in 2019. One of the driving forces behind this progress is the company’s accelerated transition toward renewable energy. The company is committed to using 100% renewable electricity in its operations by 2050 and reached 51.9% at the end of 2022—tracking well ahead of initial forecasts.  

On Thursday, Sept. 21, 3M will host a dialogue at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on the opportunity to scale climate solutions across industries. The session will focus on technologies that are required for climate mitigation and adaptation—but are currently overlooked—and where and how to achieve meaningful implementation of these technologies globally. Understanding that achieving net zero will require profound economic transformation and global collaboration, 3M is convening a panel of influential leaders on the topic, including: 

Dr. Gayle Schueller, 3M senior vice president and chief sustainability officer 
Dr. Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown 
Kani Keita, principal at TPG Rise Climate 
Kathi Vidal, undersecretary of commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 
To learn more about 3M's commitments to climate innovation and how 3M solutions are improving lives around the world, visit www.3M.com/ESG.  

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