Companies are increasingly attuned to the aspirations of their employees when assessing the role of philanthropy and community service in their organizations. In the last couple of years, sustainability has emerged as a key concern for economies across the world and substantial efforts are being made towards this. Sustainability, however, requires a multi-level, multi-disciplinary approach with people and processes working in tandem to address issues from both an environmental and societal perspective.
3M, a global science company, has taken a unique approach to employee volunteerism, and called the initiative 3M Impact. This is employee-inspired and purpose-built after employee surveys revealed that a large number of 3M employees around the world were seeking more ways to use their work skills for social good. Impact aligns with and supports the 3M Sustainability Pillars for a more sustainable future, extending its vision to taking on large challenges one small step at a time.
“The company has committed to provide 300,000 work hours of skills-based volunteerism by employees by 2025 as part of their sustainability goals. The company’s flagship program, 3M IMPACT, was piloted in 2018, and sends 3Mers from around the world to an international location where the need is great, and the work is relevant.” a statement informed.
There, for two weeks, they collaborate with non-profit organizations, social enterprises and government agencies focused on social and environmental issues or other pressing needs. Since 2018, 3M Impact Global has selected 225 employee volunteers for assignments around the globe.
By starting one project at a time with small but mighty teams, people can collectively make a big impact. Working in teams of three or four, the volunteers tackle serious challenges or game-changing opportunities as identified by the partnering organization. Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Poland, Mexico and Brazil are some of the countries to which the 3M teams travel.
Ramesh Ramadurai, MD, 3M India, said, “Our solutions-based mindset lies at the heart of our culture, and has inspired the global pro bono program 3M Impact to empower employees to make active contributions to improving lives across the world. The 3M Impact volunteers spend 2 immersive weeks collaborating with a local non-profit organization, social enterprise, or government agency to contribute to a solution for a pressing social or environmental issue. They create action plans that enable these partner organizations to achieve meaningful and long-lasting change, and more importantly – a measurable impact. 3M India has been privileged to have hosted teams from across the world in Bangalore, Pune and New Delhi in consecutive years since the program’s inception.”
In February 2020, 15 employees from 13 countries came to New Delhi and partnered with 5 local organizations. The 5 projects in Delhi dealt with Empowering women by enhancing their awareness, interest, and participation in technology : Nutrition needs of Women & children in underserved and marginalized communities; Gathering information in support of the implementation of the Air Action Plan for the city of Delhi and other places in India; Waste management to ensure consumption is more responsible and less burdensome on the planet and the poor; Providing safe and reliable transport for women by women, to benefit disadvantaged women and girls.
In March 2020, 3M India took this program a step further, and conducted 3M Impact Local as a pilot. This program enables local 3M employees to collaborate with organizations dedicated to enacting positive change within our own communities. In partnership with Pyxera Global, 3M India worked with 3 organisations in Bangalore: TISS, AME Foundation and Bal Utsav.