Our success depends on relationships inside and outside the company. This core value drives engagement with our stakeholders, who we have identified as customers, both individual and fleet; investors and analysts; employees, both current and potential new talent; suppliers, Tier I and beyond; dealers and dealer councils; communities in which we operate; governments at the national, state/provincial and local levels; and environmental and social nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
We engage these stakeholders in a variety of ways, all with the goal of sharing information and informing business decisions with meaningful dialogue. Brand marketing, investor relations, global purchasing, human resources, labor relations and government relations are some of the GM functions that engage stakeholders on a regular basis to understand and address concerns, as well as to advance social and environmental goals. Forms of engagement include, but are not limited to, quantitative consumer research studies, stakeholder focus groups, congressional testimony, blog posts and community meetings.
During 2017, we continued to see increased interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance among investors, and the number of meetings on ESG issues with investors continues to increase.
External Stakeholder Advisory Group
A critical part of our strategy is regular engagement with an external sustainability stakeholder advisory group that is coordinated through Ceres, a nonprofit organization advocating for corporate sustainability leadership. This group, now in its eighth year, has become a benchmark example of constructive stakeholder engagement. Members, who include NGOs, socially conscious investors, peer companies, fleet customers and suppliers, help guide our strategy and priorities, as well as providing informed feedback about opportunities and challenges. In addition, each member of this group possesses unique qualifications and backgrounds that we call upon for counsel on specific issues, such as supply chain transparency, human rights or policy transparency.
The group generally meets twice each year, and a shorter meeting is held during the annual Ceres conference. In-person meetings are usually held at a GM facility. During a 2017 meeting by conference call, the group heard from GM Global Procurement leadership on supply chain strategy and discussed supply chain issues, especially human rights impact and raw material sourcing, such as natural rubber and cobalt. The group also engaged in a discussion of GM’s zero-emissions vision with respect to fuel economy regulation and other climate-related issues.
Our regular engagement with Ceres and other stakeholders demonstrates the effectiveness of our strategy to work with the most impactful organizations and pursue more meaningful partnerships around sustainability issues that are critical to our business. Throughout this report, we document many of these relationships in the following areas: