GM is committed to publicly reporting our progress on an annual basis, discussing the opportunities and challenges that we encounter as we work to enhance our performance and conduct our business in the most responsible manner possible. The reporting process not only helps us to manage and measure our progress, but also helps us to engage with both internal and external stakeholders around the world.
Our previous report covered calendar year 2016 and was published in May 2017. The editorial content of this report, the 2017 Sustainability Report, generally covers subject matter for calendar year 2017 and some of 2018 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, 2017. On July 31, 2017 we closed the sale of the Opel and Vauxhall businesses and certain other assets in Europe to Peugeot, S.A. (PSA Group). On Oct. 31, 2017 we closed the sale of the European financing subsidiaries and branches to Banque PSA Finance S.A. and BNP Paribas Personal Finance S.A. The European Business was previously reported as our GM Europe (GME) segment and part of GM Financial. The European Business is presented as discontinued operations in our consolidated financial statements for all periods presented. The assets and liabilities of the European Business are presented as held for sale in our consolidated financial statements as of Dec. 31, 2016. 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. Unless otherwise indicated, information in this report relates to our continuing operations.
This report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Comprehensive Option.
For 2017, Stantec conducted an independent review for limited assurance on waste, water, carbon and energy data for global facilities. Click here for 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 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 Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Technical Protocol:
Identify: Relevant sustainability topics covered in previous materiality assessments, as well as key industry reports, were reviewed to finalize a list of 16 environmental, social and governance topics and subtopics.
Prioritize: 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.
Validate: 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.