A Conversation With our Chief Sustainability Officer Kristen Siemen
“Everybody in” is the rallying cry of GM’s transition to an all-electric future. GM wants to put everyone in an EV, and our aspiration to be the most inclusive company in the world will accelerate that mission.
As climate transition strategies continue to make headlines, the focus on social issues is also on the rise. How is GM working to address an equitable transition?
We know that, across the globe, no two communities are impacted by climate change in the same way. Last year, we announced our Equitable Climate Action initiative to ensure that our transition to an all-electric, carbon neutral future is an inclusive one for our current and future workforce, customers and communities that may be more likely to disproportionately experience the effects of climate change. This initiative is rooted in four key areas: the future of work, EV access, infrastructure equity and climate equity.
It’s a fact that the realities of climate change aren’t the same in every community—and that means the solutions can’t be the same either. As we move to a carbon neutral future, it is on us to lead positive change and implement inclusive solutions that bring everyone along.
What have been your priorities in your first year as CSO? Where do you intend to focus your efforts?
In my first year as CSO, my priority has been to ensure our sustainability strategy connects to our overall corporate vision. Our commitment to a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion positions us to become a leader in the industry. As we implement our growth strategy, we have an opportunity—and an obligation—to create a better future for everyone.
The pursuit of a safe and sustainable world is a passionate movement within GM; one that’s gaining momentum as our technologies reveal their increasingly profound potential. As a leader, an engineer and a mom, I am here to help break down barriers and advance our plans toward creating a world with zero emissions for generations to come.
What are the most critical challenges we are facing as an industry as we transition to all-electric vehicles, and how are we working toward achieving our carbon neutral ambition?
Announcing our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion has led to important business growth and innovation—primarily in our AVs and EVs. We have put in place a cohesive strategy and set science-based targets aligned with the Paris Agreement. Our goals include a plan to introduce more than 30 EV models globally by 2025, become carbon neutral in our global products and operations by 2040 and source 100% renewable electricity at sites in the United States by 2025 and globally by 2035.
One of the most critical challenges we face is that we cannot reach the future we envision alone—we must continue to pursue opportunities for collaboration with stakeholders across the globe, including suppliers, dealers, policymakers, climate thought leaders and others. A shift this massive requires everybody in, working together toward a single goal—an inclusive, all-electric future.
Because talent and recruitment have never been more important, how is GM fostering a culture of inclusion and integrating sustainability across the enterprise?
When our CEO, Mary Barra, announced our ambition to be the most inclusive company in the world, it was intended to reflect our approach to shaping our own workplace culture, as well as how we want to impact the world on the journey to a more sustainable future.
Our path to innovation starts and ends with our employees, who are fundamental to the vibrancy and success of our company. That is why we have established employee development programs that address both individual and business needs, as well as effective recruitment programs that reach out to diverse populations. In addition, we are continuing to evolve our hiring and employee engagement practices to attract, engage and develop critical skills and best-in-class talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences.