With a tremendous record of innovation, financial health and environmental stewardship, 3M is a core holding for many social investors. 3M is a leading diversified manufacturer. It has about 67,000 employees and manufactures and distributes over 50,000 different products in 200 countries. Nearly 60% of its $18 billion in revenue comes from outside the U.S.
Its sales break down as follows: 22% health care, 18% industrial, 16% display and graphics, 14% consumer and office, 10% electro and communications, 11% safety, security and protection services, and 8% transportation. The company has a deep commitment to research and development, which represents approximately 6% of sales. The company aims to derive at least 30% of sales from products introduced in the past four years.
For investors who are are looking for increased international exposure in their stock holdings, 3M is a good place to start. It took in 58% of its revenues from overseas in 2003.
Until 2001, 3M was well respected for its product innovation but was seen as slow growing and insular. The company brought in a new CEO from General Electric in 2001, who reinvigorated the company’s growth, resulting in a higher valuation for the company’s stock.
The company has a very strong environmental management program with concrete goals and extensive public disclosure that follows the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. 3M reports having made significant eco-efficiency strides since 2000, with pounds of waste per million dollars of sales down 24%, energy used per million dollars of sales down 20%, and toxic releases per million dollars of sales down 47%. The company also reports having saved $46.2 million through its pollution prevention efforts.