Embedding Sustainability into every new product
Sep 8, 2020

3M launches hundreds of new products each year, spanning nearly every industry. Beginning in 2019, each 3M product entering the new product commercialization process will include a Sustainability Value Commitment that demonstrates how it drives impact for the greater good. 

This new, formal requirement embeds Sustainability into the pipeline that produces 3M’s diverse global products. Historically, about one-third of 3M’s annual sales come from products created in the past five years, so the impact will expand greatly with each successive year. 

Beyond impacting 3M’s own operations, another primary reason for the goal is to help customers achieve their Sustainability goals. This new product goal creates even more opportunities to collaborate with customers on solutions that improve lives around the world. 

Examples of 3M’s Sustainability Value Commitment for new products include reusability, recyclability, energy savings, waste reduction, water savings, responsible sourcing, and the use of renewable materials appropriate to the specific product, from the beginning to the end of each product’s life cycle. 

This commitment can also include products with a core purpose of helping to solve an environmental or social challenge, such as improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving worker and patient safety in health care and industrial settings. 3M will measure the progress and impact of this commitment and report on it annually. 

“Sustainability has always been at the core of 3M — but we’re looking to do more,” said Chief Technology Officer John Banovetz, when he announced the new product requirement. “We are proud to formalize our commitment to this next step in innovating for a sustainable future.” 

Requiring Sustainability Value Commitments in all new products entering the new product commercialization process builds on 3M’s history of creating products that emphasize reuse, recycling, and reduced resource use for 3M’s operations and for their customers. Those products are wide-ranging, including energy-saving window films, materials that help in lightweighting vehicles, and water and waste

Products that incorporate the new 2019 requirement span all 3M business groups. A few examples include:

  • The Post-it® Flex Write Surface is a whiteboard surface that can be written on with permanent markers. To remove the marker, just spray it with water and wipe it off. Regular dry erase markers also work on this surface and can simply be erased. Post-it Flex Write Surfaces can be used to refurbish poorly performing dry erase boards and chalkboards, which reduces landfill additions. The adhesive on the product contains at least 60% plant-based material. The lightweight rolls weigh 9% of what a leading whiteboard of the same size weighs, which reduces the transportation footprint and decreases customer shipping costs. The liner, core, and box are also recyclable. Permanent markers can be removed from the surface with water instead of solvent Embedding Sustainability into every new product


  • The 3M™ Molecular Detection System is a rapid molecular method with ready-to-use pre-dispensed reagents, a single protocol for all pathogens, and the ability to test for multiple types of pathogens simultaneously. When used with the 3M™ Molecular Detection Assay 2 — Salmonella, the system is the primary Salmonella testing method of the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service and has been validated and certified by numerous international and regional organizations.


  • 3M™ Natural Pozzolans, an SCM (supplementary cementitious material) used in the making of concrete, has an impactful Sustainability Value Commitment. This product helps reduce CO2 emissions as a 1:1 replacement of cement in concrete, a very large global source of CO2 emissions (from cement’s calcining step). It is estimated that each ton of SCM used to displace cement reduces CO2 emissions by 0.75 tons


  • 3M™ Envision™ Print Wrap Films are made in part with bio-based materials and are made without PVC, phthalates, or halogens. 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480mC has earned the prestigious GREENGUARD™ Gold Certification, awarded to products passing strict testing standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds into indoor environments

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