Communicating with transparency and accountability
One of the strategic pillars of our global sustainability function is transparency. In this spirit, we are committed to public reporting on an annual basis of our progress, discussing the opportunities and challenges that we encounter as we work to enhance our sustainability performance, and conducting our business in the most responsible manner possible. The reporting process not only helps us to manage our progress, but also helps to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders around the world.
Our last report covered calendar year 2014 and was published in May 2015. The editorial content of this report, the 2015 Sustainability Report, generally covers subject matter for 2015 and is limited to operations owned and/or operated by GM. In some instances, data has been included for operations in which GM’s interest is through a joint venture. Such data is noted in this report. All metrics in the report refer to the calendar year ended Dec. 31, 2015. This report has been prepared according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Core guidelines, pending some data to be updated in June 2016.
For 2015, GHD conducted an independent review for limited assurance on waste, water, carbon and energy data for global facilities. Click here for GHD's full statement of assurance. Due to limited assurance on most material data streams within the report, neither the GM Board of Directors nor senior management is involved in seeking assurance for the report.
Our most recent materiality assessment was conducted in 2014 to inform both our sustainability strategy development and report content. A third party, Sustainalytics, conducted the assessment based on a four-step process outlined in the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Technical Protocol:
Desk-based research was used to identify a list of potentially material issues, which were compiled from various sources including the GRI automotive sector supplement (draft), peer group sustainability reports and investment research reports. From this research, a list of 17 issues and more than 100 sub-issues was compiled.
A survey was developed for the purpose of better understanding and prioritizing the issues most relevant to General Motors’ business. The survey was distributed to internal and external GM stakeholders. Employees were asked to what degree the management of an issue impacted GM’s long-term success, while external stakeholders were asked to rank the importance of GM’s management of a given issue. Respondents, who included 795 GM employees and 72 external stakeholders, also were invited to suggest additional issues.
Survey results were compiled to determine an impact score for each issue. These results were validated through a peer and meta-analysis that compared them with automotive industry and sustainability issues. Sustainalytics’ automotive analysts, who track 44 companies in the sector, reviewed and prioritized the validated list from an industry perspective.
Our reporting team reviewed the final results of the materiality assessment and grouped the most material issues into nine focus areas for the purpose of reporting. These focus areas encompass our 10 most material issues as defined by both internal and external stakeholders. Within these focus areas, we also have included discussion of several more specific issues, such as water and waste management, that we believe are important to our long-term success.
General Motors began its association with CDP in 2010, when we began tracking carbon emissions and reduction activities through the CDP Climate Change Program. Our first results were released in 2012. In 2013, we expanded our carbon reporting to include all 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions, achieving our goal one year ahead of our original plan. We are proud to have received an “A” rating for the past three years and to have scored a 100 on the program’s transparency scale.
In addition to the CDP Climate Change Program, we have voluntarily participated in the CDP Water program since 2011. For the past three years, we also have participated in the CDP Supply Chain program, a voluntary initiative to help increase engagement with suppliers on environmental performance and disclosure, particularly around reducing CO2 emissions. Read more about the results of our CDP supplier survey in the Supply Chain section of this report. We continue to use the information gained from the program to more accurately measure our indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water impact, as well as to help prioritize our climate change risk management within the GM supply chain.