How 3M’s sustainability culture attracts the best talent
As we understand more about the realities of climate change, there has been a greater movement towards sustainability. Not just for consumers, but for employees, too. A 2017 study even suggests that it is very much a priority for the increasingly-dominant millennial workforce.
With this in mind, HRM Magazine Asia recently spoke with 3M’s Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Gayle Schueller, to understand how sustainability is a core part of 3M’s employer brand, and very much part of the company’s everyday working culture.
In Singapore, the global science company has embarked on various green initiatives including:
- A zero-landfill site at the 3M Tuas Plant where 100% of the waste generated is converted into energy or recycled.
- One of the largest solar panel farms in Singapore, in efforts to reach its 2025 goal of using renewable energy to power a quarter of its global operations.
How do 3M’s sustainable initiatives tie into the company’s overall culture and values?
Sustainability is at the core of 3M. It drives innovation in our manufacturing, our products and our new technologies — and we’re always trying to do more.
3M has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, from the Pollution Prevention Pays program that began in 1975, to 3M’s 2025 Sustainability goals that include water, climate, and energy targets.
[At the end of last year,] at the UN Climate Conference, we announced 3M’s first major goal in that new strategy.
Starting in 2019, 100 percent of 3M’s new products will have sustainability built in.
Every new product will be required to have a Sustainability Value Commitment that demonstrates how it drives impact for the greater good. [We launch] approximately 1,000 new products each year.
How important has sustainability been to current employees, as well as potential talent?
Building Sustainability into the core of our purpose as a company impacts our operations, our customers, our suppliers and our communities—and it also impacts our employees.
When you work for 3M, you are changing the world. That’s what we do — we use science to help solve global challenges and to improve every life.
That’s a meaningful purpose for our employees — and it’s how we attract the best talent.
We’re proud of our history of leadership in sustainability. We value the recognition we receive, as it shows we are a company driven by employees who are truly making a difference in the world.
How are employees involved in planning and executing these green initiatives?
Sustainability is a team sport. 3M has a uniquely collaborative global culture that helps us combine our efforts across business divisions, geographies and technologies to solve customer’s challenges.
In terms of number of people involved, there are 10,000 people in our global Research and Development organisation who are directly engaged in our rigorous new product introduction process as part of the 91,000 employees around the world who each have a role in executing our Sustainability strategy.
3M’s innovation model is built on staying close with customers including in new product development. This means that our customers are also engaged in this ambitious goal for a Sustainability Value Commitment in every new 3M product.
Employees are a major focus of our engagement efforts because they are how we make our ambitious Sustainability goals happen.