General Motors is committed to publicly reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics on an annual basis, discussing the opportunities and challenges that we encounter as we work to enhance performance and conduct business in the most responsible manner possible. The reporting process not only helps us manage and measure our progress, but also helps us to engage with both internal and external stakeholders around the world.#4
Our previous report covered calendar year 2017 and was published in June 2018. The editorial content of this report, the 2018 Global Impact Report, generally covers subject matter for calendar year 2018 and early 2019 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 related to GM manufacturing and product commitments, as well as workforce and financial data, refer to the calendar year ended Dec. 31, 2018.
Unless otherwise indicated, information in this report relates to our continuing operations. It should be noted when reviewing past year data that on July 31, 2017, we closed the sale of the Opel and Vauxhall businesses and certain other assets in Europe (the Opel/Vauxhall Business) to Peugeot, S.A. (PSA Group). On Oct. 31, 2017, we closed the sale of the European financing subsidiaries and branches (the Fincos, and together with the Opel/Vauxhall Business, the European Business) to Banque PSA Finance S.A. and BNP Paribas Personal Finance S.A. The European Business is presented as discontinued operations in our consolidated financial statements for all periods presented. Upon our divestiture of Opel and Vauxhall, GM used the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, published by WBCSD and WRI as a basis for our methodology for publicly reporting GHG.
This report has been prepared according to GRI Standards: Comprehensive Option.
This is the second year that GM has reported to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board framework. Our intent is one of continuous improvement as we report to metrics included in the Transportation Standards.
The Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has developed a voluntary, consistent, climate-related financial risk disclosure for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers and other stakeholders. The TCFD framework rests on four main tenets. The table found here provides sections of this report that address those tenets.
GM supports both of these initiatives and includes indexes for them in this report. During 2019, we are refreshing our materiality assessment and intend to use this exercise to focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals that align most closely with our greatest impacts.
For 2018, Stantec conducted an independent review for limited assurance on waste, water, carbon and energy data for global facilities. See Stantec’s full statement of assurance. Due to limited assurance on most material data streams within the report, this review only involves operational management. Neither the GM Board of Directors nor senior management is involved in seeking assurance for the report.
Our sustainability strategy and the content of this report are based on the results of a 2016 global materiality assessment, a process we undertake every two to three years. The use of “material” or “materiality” in this report is not related to or intended to convey matters or facts that could be deemed “material” to a reasonable investor as referred to under U.S. securities laws or similar requirements of other jurisdictions. A third party, Sustainalytics, conducted the assessment based on a process outlined in the GRI Technical Protocol:
Relevant sustainability topics covered in previous materiality assessments, as well as key industry reports, were reviewed to finalize a list of 16 ESG topics and subtopics.
Two online surveys were deployed to GM employees and external stakeholders globally. Respondents were asked to prioritize the importance of sustainability topics and subtopics. The survey was completed by 1,052 GM employees, who were asked to what degree the management of an issue impacted GM’s long-term success, and 367 external stakeholders, who ranked the importance of GM’s management of a given issue.
Based on the survey results, all 16 topics were plotted on a preliminary materiality matrix, which was reviewed by a Sustainalytics automotive sector analyst in order to validate the relative importance of each topic. Based on this review, the relative importance of six topics was increased or decreased, and a final matrix was determined.
Among the key learnings from this most recent materiality assessment: Our top three most material topics — customer satisfaction, vehicle safety and vehicle efficiency and emissions — remained consistent between 2014 and 2016 and are closely linked. Five of the top 10 most material topics rose in importance over the past three materiality analysis cycles: customer satisfaction, vehicle safety, employee relations, employee equal opportunity and diversity, and water management. In addition, Sustainalytics identified collaboration with suppliers on social and environmental supply chain challenges, vehicle efficiency and emissions, and operational energy and emissions as leadership opportunities relative to other automotive OEMs.
Customer satisfaction, vehicle safety, vehicle efficiency and emissions, and employee relations are among our most material issues.
GM has worked with CDP since 2010, when we began tracking carbon emissions and reduction activities through the CDP Climate Change Program. Since 2013, we have reported all 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions. In addition to the climate change program, we have voluntarily participated in the CDP Water program since 2011 and were named to the CDP Water and CDP Supply Chain A lists in 2018.
We also participate in the CDP Supply Chain program, engaging our supply chain for the past five years in actions to reduce their emissions, mitigate their effects on climate change, address water security and strengthen their overall businesses. In 2018, we invited 340 suppliers to participate in CDP’s Supply Chain climate change and water programs. Sixty-one percent of our suppliers who were invited responded that they had reduced carbon emissions in total by 27 million metric tons in 2018, saving a cumulative $1.4 billion, of which 540,000 metric tons reduced and $28 million in savings were attributed to their business with GM. 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 this program to more accurately measure our indirect GHG emissions and water impact and prioritize our climate change risk management within the GM supply chain.