Skip to Main Content
(Press Enter)

Supplier Environmental
Sustainability

SUPPORTING SUPPLIER RESPONSIBILITY

We are working diligently to integrate sustainability into all aspects of GM's supply chain.

A cross-enterprise project team—the GPSC Sustainability Team—was formed in 2020 to execute our GPSC Sustainability Vision: A collaborative supply chain minimizing environmental impact and enhancing long-term sustainability for our planet and the communities we serve through innovation and performance. This team is made up of more than 50 employees who are passionate about sustainability and have volunteered to take on additional responsibilities to be part of this effort. All members are required to join a workstream to help advance the team’s vision. Workstreams include Packaging, Metals, Plastics, Culture, Supplier Education and Logistics, with new workstreams being created as needed.

The efforts of the workstreams in 2020 took many forms. For example, the Culture workstream worked to drive individual accountability among all GPSC employees to be stewards of the environment. We did this by introducing sustainability messages at the beginning of weekly GPSC staff meetings, similar to the safety messages we use to begin our meetings. We also conducted an employee survey on sustainability and have organized a series of lunchtime educational sessions.

GPSC is holding monthly sustainability calls among GPSC team members from each global region. Their purpose is to build a collaborative and aligned global network that is committed to advancing sustainability in GPSC.

Environmental and social sustainability are among the most critical issues of our time. Securing a more sustainable future requires urgency, decisive action and engagement from all. Through the strength of our supplier partners and the GM team, we are committed to driving collective progress toward a more sustainable world for us and our future generations.

—Shilpan Amin, Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain

We use life cycle analysis (LCA) to better understand the activities of our approximately 13,500 suppliers worldwide. Purchased goods and services include the life cycle emissions from parts purchased from our suppliers.

LCA, combined with environmental extended input/output analysis, using the US EPA EEIO 1.0 database, allows us to assess suppliers by industry and by tier to identify where the greatest environmental impacts in our supply chain occur and prioritize our resources. To increase granularity, we performed the analysis at the component level to identify potential opportunities for carbon reduction by the highest intensity of carbon emissions. It also helps us monitor and manage sustainability trends within our supply base as automotive technologies change.

GHG Impact by Tier

  • Our largest GHG impact occurs among Tier II suppliers.
  • Direct parts represent 70% of indirect emissions which we are working to reduce from a GM vehicle, excluding customer use.
  • Our largest water impact occurs among Tier II suppliers.

GHG Impact by Industry

Supplier Engagement

The GPSC Sustainability Team created multiple new forums for engagement with suppliers in 2020.

Several virtual symposia were organized, and centered upon numerous sustainability topics. The first symposium, titled Sustainability Through Innovation, featured 14 speakers from a variety of industries who presented on topics related to sustainable packaging, green logistics, supplier emissions, culture change and sustainable materials. More than 650 participants from 18 countries took part in the event.

We followed up with a Packaging Symposium and Energy Symposium, both of which featured conversations with subject matter experts and thought leaders who shared insights into best practices and innovative solutions. Following the Energy Symposium, we launched ongoing monthly webinars on a wide variety of energy management, water management, conservation and goal-setting topics. These webinars have brought together government agencies, energy providers and GM supplier partners with the intent to foster continued conversation while challenging stakeholders to set ambitious energy reduction goals. To date, we have held two energy webinars with a monthly frequency planned for 2021.

We have also piloted a virtual “treasure hunt” program in partnership with several suppliers to drive energy- and water-reduction efforts at Tier I supplier facilities. In 2020, we successfully completed our first virtual treasure hunt with one of our supplier partners. This particular engagement resulted in the identification of opportunities that could yield significant CO2 emissions reductions, cost reductions and energy savings. These potential opportunities include reducing approximately 400 metric tons of CO2e and 600 MWh of energy while achieving returns on investment in approximately 1.5 years. The program has gained significant traction, with several more supplier partners scheduled to participate in 2021. Through these activities, we are continuing to build strong partnerships and share a culture of energy conservation to support continuous improvement efforts.

Sustainability Goals Framework

Our GPSC team continues to evolve a Sustainability Goals Framework that was developed for GM supplier partners. The framework establishes clear expectations of our supplier partners which support GM’s sustainability goals and vision. The framework includes increasing levels of engagement from our suppliers with four distinct levels: compliance, commitment, growth and leadership.

There are elements of the framework that address environmental, social and economic sustainability. Some elements within the framework allow for flexibility based on supplier materiality assessments, while others are clearly defined, such as year-over-year carbon reduction targets. The framework also contains requirements that support GM’s vision for more sustainable materials in our products, sustainable packaging, green logistics and overall supplier sustainability. The framework was built with supplier input and will continue to evolve as our sustainable purchasing program matures. GPSC is committed to enrolling 100% of our strategic Tier I suppliers in our Sustainability Goals Framework.

CDP Supply Chain Initiative

CDP is a third-party rating system that supports a global environmental disclosure platform. CDP supports companies in measuring and managing their impacts on climate change, deforestation and water-related risks. GM’s participation in CDP goes beyond our own operational footprint to include those of our suppliers. GM has participated in the CDP Supply Chain initiative, partnering with select suppliers, since 2013.

In 2019, participation among selected suppliers was 68%. In 2020, we set a goal to increase participation among selected suppliers to 90%. We exceeded that goal with 96% participation for the Climate Change questionnaire. We accomplished this through a targeted, multipronged effort, including a dedicated workstream within the GPSC Sustainability team. The team shared guidance and information with suppliers through webinars and built a feedback process, putting status updates into the hands of our purchasing community. Supplier participation was also included as a metric on GPSC leaders’ performance scorecards. The close engagement we achieved with suppliers has created a solid foundation for success in future years of reporting.

96%
of suppliers responded
(314 suppliers)
96.5%
of strategic suppliers responded
(224 suppliers)

Climate Response

51%
of suppliers engaging
their own suppliers
63% average member
$1.15B
Annual monetary savings
from emissions reductions
$1.13B average member
96% Supplier response rate
67%
Reporting
active targets
71% average member
22.9M MT
Estimated annual
CO2e savings
25.5M MT average member

Water Response

26%
of suppliers engaging
their own suppliers
36% average member
60%
Reporting any
water-related policy
61% average member
81% Supplier response rate
82%
Reporting active targets
and/or goals
79% average member
63%
Reporting water
accounting
69% average member

Sustainability in Logistics

GM is an EPA SmartWay® partner, and our GPSC Logistics team evaluates our logistics network for optimization opportunities. Specifically, the team studies opportunities to improve efficiency through actions such as redesigning routes, changing modes and adjusting frequency. Recently, the team ran a pilot program to include carbon emissions statistics in business case analyses. The integration of carbon calculation methodology allows for increased visibility of CO2 emissions when examining scenarios such as mode or frequency changes.

As we progress toward a more sustainable and efficient logistics network, our goals include:

1

Achieving greater participation in SmartWay® from our U.S. and Canadian carriers.

2

Incorporating sustainability metrics into our carrier sourcing decisions and scorecards.

3

Collaborating with carriers to achieve emissions reductions and green technology adoption.

4

Promoting the development of innovative strategies, best practice sharing and top-performing carrier recognition.

GHG Impact by Tier
1 2 3
19% 34% 24%
GHG Impact by Industry
Electricity Generation 20%
Primary Iron, Steel 12%
Petrochemical 8%
Oil & Gas 7%
Natural Gas 6%
Inorganic Chemicals 5%
Secondary Steel 4%
Coal 4%
Organic Chemicals 3%
Aluminum 3%
Powertrain 32%
Body 30%
Interior 19%
Seats 12%
Tires & Wheels 4%
Glass 2%