We achieve sustainable
progress by setting
our sights high.
General Motors’ strategy is to deliver safer, simpler and more sustainable transportation solutions for our customers. In doing so, we’ll realize our vision for personal mobility — we’ll help the world see a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.
Our strategy reflects today’s transportation revolution that is transforming how people move, an effect similar to the debut of the automobile more than a century ago. The technologies leading this transformation of personal mobility will be autonomous, electric, connected and shared. We are focused on initiatives that capitalize on these new technologies and business models to create products, offer services and advocate for policy that looks at transportation as a system and mobility as a service. This will result in a world where sustainable transportation is a reality for daily life and enables communities to be more prosperous and livable.
Our Scope 3 product footprint, which consists of our supply chain impacts, use of vehicles produced and management of vehicles’ end-of-life, amounts to 94 percent of GM’s total GHG emissions for 2019. Our vehicle strategy must then, in effect, become our sustainability strategy. In 2019, we moved toward achieving this more holistic alignment by creating a Sustainability Office and naming our first Chief Sustainability Officer. This Office is charged with working cross-functionally to ensure responsible consumption of materials and production of vehicles; to lead the strategic design and implementation of our electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure; and to engage both internal and external stakeholders to realize a zero emissions future.
Our Sustainability Office is using a cross-functional “team of teams” approach to ensure that areas across the enterprise have accountability for their respective functions’ role in accelerating the company’s zero emissions future. Within each functional area, a single leadership point represents sustainability objectives and priorities, as well as owning sustainability goals and metrics. This also ensures that sustainable attributes are incorporated into every vehicle across GM’s product portfolio, helping to bridge between an evolving electric vehicle (EV) portfolio and an internal combustion engine (ICE) portfolio.
Focus Areas and Goals
Sustainability Office leaders are charged with innovating and advocating for the acceleration of our zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion vision. This work is initially centered around five primary environmental areas of focus: sustainable materials, zero waste, carbon, energy and water. To manage and measure progress over the next decade, the team is working to develop a comprehensive set of enterprise goals that is expected to be formalized over the next year. Already announced are goals that call for:
- Ensuring at least 50 percent sustainable material content in GM vehicles by 2030.
- Achieving a 31 percent reduction in absolute Scope 1 & 2 CO2 emissions based on science and aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Ensure 100 percent of targeted GM suppliers are reporting data to CDP Supply Chain by 2022.
In addition, the team has accelerated GM’s previously announced goal to source 100 percent renewable electricity globally by 2050. The new goal calls for achieving 100 percent in the U.S. by 2030 and globally by 2040.
A key consideration in developing these enterprise-level goals has been to ensure cross-functional reach so that every GM employee in the world is positioned to contribute to the success of at least one of the goals. These goals are also intended to pivot our focus from operational impact to product impact. This approach is more holistic than in the past, when we have viewed operations and products separately. Now, all impacts of the business are managed and measured to support our zero emissions future.
2020 Operational Commitments
These goals and those to be announced build on the progress that has been made over the past decade through our 2020 Manufacturing Commitments. Introduced in 2010, these commitments focus on GM’s extensive manufacturing footprint around the world and have served to significantly reduce the impact of our operations. Progress has included meeting our initial goal to increase renewable energy to 125 MW four years early and continuing to grow renewable energy capacity to more than 424 MW as of the end of 2019. In the past nine years, we also have reduced energy intensity by 8 percent; water intensity by 14 percent and waste intensity by 28 percent — all against the 2010 baseline.