3M: Annual Energy Communications Plan
Due to the critical role that improved energy performance plays in 3M’s 2025 sustainability goals, it was essential to raise the visibility of efforts made in effective energy management across the company’s global operation. This led to the development of an annual energy-focused communications plan that includes the planning and tracking of multiple communication outlets. The purpose of these efforts was to ensure collaborative delivery of 3M’s energy message, share best practices, offer helpful resources and guidance, make cross-functional connections, broadcast replicable opportunities, increase managerial commitment, and grow a culture of continuous improvement in energy across 3M locations.
3M is a multinational company that has committed to increasing energy efficiency by 30% and achieving a renewably sourced electricity profile of at least 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2050. However, the effective communication needed to reach these goals is hard to maintain because 3M’s Corporate Energy Management Program works with more than 275 locations in 70 countries. The Annual Communications Plan was developed to overcome this challenge and help 3M achieve its efficiency goals.
In developing the Annual Communications Plan, 3M evaluated its desire to communicate with executive management, middle management, plant management, its network of Plant Energy Champions, and others who have a critical role in achieving its 2025 sustainability goals. The process of creating the plan included:
- Updating existing communication tools and developing new tools
- Collaborating with the plant engineering community to provide a global conference
- Developing a detailed Excel workbook tool
1. To increase 3M’s energy conservation, the company updated existing communication tools and developed new innovative tools. Some updates included the following:
- Monthly web conferences with plant energy champions were given a reboot—New topics were introduced, new presenters were identified, and participation was increased by integrating attendee lists with the corporate tech forum groups related to energy.
- More frequent energy-focused email blasts were distributed—These provided clearly formatted quarterly updates with multiple topics of interest, as well as short and easy-to-digest highlight emails. These messages included internal news (such as success stories, awards won, and projects delivered) and relevant external news (such as DOE InPlant Training due dates, 3M recognition, and useful external partner tools).
- Updates to the energy SharePoint and 3M Go tools and resources were increased—The development of useful assets for energy networks will be housed on an internal energy webpage. The resources include the following:
- Energy Implementation Guide
- Energy champion guidance; energy team roles and responsibilities list
- Archive of all web conferences and email blasts
- Information on energy initiatives (such as 3M-led treasure hunts, ISO 50001 and SEP engagement, and the 3M Lighting Challenge)
- Information on energy data reporting; tools for effective project delivery (including a quick analysis tool, application for corporate funding, best practices lists by technology type, and more).
2. In collaboration with the 3M Plant Engineering community, a joint Plant Engineering and Energy Global Conference was held, allowing interdepartmental engagement and networking to take place. This led to increased dialogue with the energy champions and the Plant Engineering colleagues, and increased opportunities to expand the cross-functional awareness of energy on-site.
3. To drive the annual plan, a detailed Excel workbook tool was developed to house all communication action plans and results. The workbook identifies the schedule for and content of the following activity categories, and provides tracking regarding their effectiveness:
- Monthly web conferences
- Email blasts
- Energy 3M Go updates
- Energy SharePoint updates
- Energy Champion training
- Energy awards
- Plant Engineering and Energy Leadership Summit
- Cross functional/inter-departmental meetings
- ISO 50001 and SEP communication
- Engineering digital display/Did You Know/3M Go
- External communications
- Energy database rebuild updates
Each category includes tracking of:
- Objectives, key messages, and intention of activity
- Target audiences
- Delivery date
- Delivery vehicle
- Delivered by
- Feedback mechanism
In addition to increasing the number of conferences and resources, 3M also integrated feedback into its plan. Feedback from employees was obtained through direct discussion, emailed responses, or survey results, which allowed for revisions to low-impacting methodologies. This allowed 3M to continually improve processes and create a more effective plan.
Participation levels for each communication type were tracked. For example, monthly web conference participation, number of SharePoint unique users, number of 3M stories and resources shared in newsletters, and number of energy-based attendees at its collective global conference were all tracked.
The implementation of the Annual Communications Plan has increased the ability of 3M to effectively deliver its energy message. Through integration with cross-functional teams [such as the plant engineering community, the Energy, Health, and Safety (EHS) and Sustainability teams, and 3M sourcing], key stakeholders were informed with a clear message that could be communicated to 3M’s audiences.
3M implemented an annual energy-focused communications plan, increasing clarity and communication within all 3M operations.
Communicating energy efficiency messages to all 3M locations and to executive management
An annual energy communication plan to increase planning and communication
Increased clarity and communication regarding energy within all 3M operations