Our stakeholders continue to identify customer satisfaction as General Motors’ most material issue. This aligns completely with our purpose to earn customers for life, and customer satisfaction ensures the long-term sustainability of our business in a highly competitive marketplace and as customers’ relationships with their vehicles change. Research has shown that companies that lead in customer experience generally enjoy a higher stock valuation than those that lag in customer experience. When you consider that a single percentage point improvement in U.S. customer retention is equivalent to selling about 25,000 vehicles, or approximately $700 million in annual revenue, depending on the mix of vehicles involved, the business benefits are compelling.
GM’s top priority is safety — in the vehicle and in the workplace. The two are inherently linked. More than 1 million people are killed in traffic crashes around the world every year. GM believes that number should be zero. Similarly, we aspire to be a workplace with zero injuries among employees, contractors, suppliers and other individuals in our facilities around the world. A world with zero crashes and zero injuries is an ambitious vision. We see, however, the potential for that vision to become reality by holding each other accountable for personal safety and by capitalizing on the promise of autonomous, connected vehicles that get drivers to their destinations safely, every single time.
The CO2 emissions of our global vehicle fleet represent 77 percent of our carbon footprint today. We aim to take that percentage to zero so that our children will inherit a healthier planet. Our journey to zero emissions entails a commitment to develop and deploy advanced technologies and to significantly enhance traditional ones. In the process, we help our customers save money over the life of their vehicle purchase by using less fuel. We also look to ensure our long-term business success by complying with aggressive fuel economy and carbon-emissions regulations in markets around the world.
More than 100 years ago, General Motors was part of a mobility revolution. We gave the world the automobile, and with it, changed how people moved, how businesses operated and how cities grew. Now, we’re driving a second revolution, one that involves the convergence of vehicles that are autonomous, connected, shared and electric. This revolution will unlock progress toward each of our aspirational goals: zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. GM is bringing this future forth with innovations that are rewriting the rules of vehicle use and ownership.
In order to build the most valuable automotive company, we must recognize that our impacts go beyond the walls of GM to include our entire value chain, of which suppliers make up a significant part. The importance of strong supply chain management and relationships is further underscored as new issues arise due to business expansion into emerging markets and increased participation in advanced technologies, such as autonomous and electric vehicles. We seek to partner with suppliers who share our purpose and values as we move toward a future of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. We expect our employees working with suppliers to hold them accountable to the same environmental principles and ethical standards to which we hold our own employees and operations—so we all win with integrity.
In order to stay competitive and relevant as a company, we must attract and retain the brightest talent around the world. Today, we compete for that talent against other automotive companies and, increasingly, against businesses in other sectors such as technology. To win and keep talent, we must provide a workplace culture that encourages employee behaviors aligned with our values, fulfills their long-term individual aspirations and achieves full engagement. We also are mindful that our global customer base is diverse. Our global workforce must reflect that diversity and possess a diverse set of insights, skills and experiences in order to meet customers’ needs.
Our mission is to become the world’s most valued automotive company. We want to do business the right way and win with integrity. That requires trust and transparency. Taking personal responsibility for our actions is critical to the success of our company. That responsibility begins at the highest level with our Board of Directors. This highly engaged body, with a diverse range of expertise, drives effective oversight of our strategic priorities, operations and actions as an organization. The Board encourages healthy, constructive debate and regularly challenges the company to do what is right and make the tough decisions essential to move us forward in times of significant change and transformation.
There are very few companies that operate at GM’s level globally – 173,000 employees working in 401 facilities; and affiliations with over 12,500 locally owned dealerships worldwide. Locally, this scale means that we impact hundreds of communities around the world. Globally, that scale gives us enormous influence to innovate in the areas of environmental and social excellence. Moreover, when we reduce our operational impact, we operate more efficiently. Efficient operations translate into lower cost structures and higher levels of quality, both of which ultimately benefit our customers and contribute to our aspiration of zero emissions.
One of our corporate purposes is to serve and improve the communities in which we live and work around the world. Business sustainability is directly linked to the health of the communities in which GM and our customers reside. Our mutual long-term success is interdependent with these communities as we share many of the same natural resources and depend upon a local workforce of talented individuals. We have a strategic interest in that workforce being well-educated, particularly among skilled trades and in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), given the increasing level of advanced technology in the automotive industry. Our business viability also has both direct and indirect impacts on local economic vitality in the form of providing jobs and contributing to the local tax base.