Technology and manufacturing giant 3M has announced that as of Friday, its Maplewood headquarters will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
The company employs 12,000 employees across 30 buildings at its 409-acre northeast metro campus, and says on Friday it will be "flipping the switch" so that every drop of electricity used on site will come from renewable sources.
It says it will become the largest company in Xcel Energy's eight state service area to switch exclusively to renewables, with CEO Mike Roman saying: "We are continuing to step up our leadership toward a more sustainable future – in our own operations, and in solutions for our customers."
The majority of the power for 3M's HQ will come from Xcel Energy wind farms near Pipestone, Minnesota, with extra power coming from Xcel's Windource program and solar power sources.
The change in the Twin Cities will be followed by the rest of 3M's facilities around the globe over the coming years, though this will take a little more time. 3M says it has an interim target to get at least 50 percent of its total electricity from renewables by 2025.
Once the Maplewood campus goes green on Friday, 3M says 30 percent of its energy will be renewable.
It comes at a time when there is increasing concern over the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth's climate, with scientists predicting catastrophic impacts unless immediate efforts are taken to reduce human pollution.
In its news announcement, 3M claims it has been "a leader in environmental sustainability practices for decades," though its environmental reputation took a serious hit a year ago when it settled a pollution lawsuit with the State of Minnesota.
That's after the company contaminated large areas of the eastern Twin Cities metro with petrofluorochemicals (PFCs) over a period of decades, despite knowing it was harmful to health, and then attempted to mask it.
The Fortune 500 company agreed to pay out $850 million to create a water recovery and sustainability fund as part of the settlement.