3M makes a diverse line of products. They make films that brighten the displays on electronics (flat-panel computer monitors, cell phones, PDAs, LCD televisions), a supplier of copper and fiber optic connectivity for the electrical, electronics & telecom industries, products for healthcare (2,000 dental products, drug delivery systems, software, food and beverage safety, skin dressings, stethoscopes), household products (scotch tape, post-its, thinsulate insulation used in outerwear, footwear, bedding, acoustics), mining products (safety eyewear, hearing "conservation", hard hats, reflectives) and abrasives, tapes, films and adhesives for making/repairing cars, aircraft, boats and other vehicles1. All these products are sold through numerous distribution channels; directly to users and through many wholesalers, retailers, jobbers, distributors and dealers in a variety of trades in many countries worldwide2.
1. 3M Renewable Energy Division (as of February 2009). Solar - tapes and labels for makers of solar cells and window films for energy savings and to (though, they are marketed in a off-putting way "reduce up to 99% of the sun's harmful UV rays and prevent injury from glass fragments due to crime, destructive weather and terrorism"). Wind - adhesives, tapes, sealants, acoustical insulation for wind turbines. 3M's Renewable Energy segment is within its Industrial & Transportation Business1, 2, 3.
2. Fuel Cell Components Program - Conducts research focused on Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) and works on the technology of these MEAS with a focus on their components (catalysts, membranes, gas diffusion layers, seals and gaskets). Developing processing technology for the automated assembly of MEAs. Has research agreements sponsored by the Department of Energy and is an Executive Member of the US Fuel Cell Council4, 5.
1. "3M is leading the way in renewable energy - helping to transform the fields of wind and solar energy from a wellspring of development to the mainstream of commercialization"1.
2. Environmental reporting2.
1. 50-year supplier of products to oil/gas business; nearly 10,000 3M products are available to the exploration, production, transportation, refining & marketing segments of the industry1.
2. The company has gotten into renewable energy as a laggard - they have not led the way in this field, they have simply gotten involved when the market has developed to a "safe" point for business entry. They have been involved with oil and gas for 50 years without a mention of the negative social concerns of doing such.