The Sustainable Business Council Blog

Companies Work to Keep Emissions Low After the Recession
July 7, 2010, 5:34 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Years ago, 3M set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 30 percent between 2002 and 2007, based on its revenue. It blew that goal away, slashing emissions by 60 percent.

It then vowed to cut its absolute global carbon footprint 5 percent between 2006 and 2011. It blew this goal away, too, years ahead of schedule. By 2008, its emissions had fallen 16 percent.

The economic downturn and a rise in energy costs were contributing factors, said Keith Miller, 3M’s manager of environmental initiatives and sustainability.

“One of the tough things is as the economy picks up, we will continue to grow so that will potentially be an issue,” Miller explained. “We hope we can maintain the 16 percent (reduction) level, but that will be a challenge.”

The company more than maintained it: 3M revealed last month its global carbon footprint shrunk 52 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Since last fall, I’ve asked a number of companies how the economic recession has impacted their emissions reduction goals. A common theme emerged: The downturn has helped many companies reach their climate goals faster, but the hard part will be holding the line on emissions once business activity picks up.

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