General Motors Outlines Environmental Goals in 11th Sustainability Report

Detroit’s General Motors Co. has outlined new environmental sustainability goals in its 11th annual Sustainability Report, released Friday. The report also provides an overview of the company’s environmental, social, and governance performance in 2020.
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GM Factory Zero sign
GM outlined new environmental sustainability goals in its 11th annual Sustainability Report. Pictured is the company’s Factory Zero, which is located in Detroit and Hamtramck. // Photo courtesy of General Motors Co.

Detroit’s General Motors Co. has outlined new environmental sustainability goals in its 11th annual Sustainability Report, released Friday. The report also provides an overview of the company’s environmental, social, and governance performance in 2020.

The company’s new goals include reducing operational energy intensity by 35 percent by 2035 against a 2010 baseline; making packaging 100 percent returnable or made from majority sustainable content, with zero waste by 2030; achieving greater than 90 percent waste diversion from landfills and incineration globally by 2025; and enrolling 100 percent of targeted Tier 1 suppliers in GM’s Supplier Sustainability Program.

In early 2021, the company announced it planned to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and become carbon neutral by 2040. It also announced its commitment to setting science-based targets. On April 22, the company received approval from the Science-Based Targets initiative for interim, science-based, scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions targets.

Scope 1 and 2 targets are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s most aggressive goal to limit the rise in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The scope 3 target is aligned with the most ambitious and available modeling for limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

On April 20, GM signed an open letter to U.S. President Joe Biden indicating support for the Biden administration’s commitment to climate action and for setting a federal climate target to help reduce emissions by 2030. The letter was organized and published by the We Mean Business coalition and Ceres.

The company also continues to work toward its previously announced goals, including sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity globally by 2035 and 100 percent in the U.S. by 2030; reducing operational water intensity by 35 percent by 2035 against a 2010 baseline; and striving for at least 50 percent sustainable material content in GM vehicles by 2030.

GM reports its annual data in accordance with several reporting frameworks, including CDP, the Global Reporting Initiative, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures; Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, UN Global Compact, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Once-in-a-century technology transformations like these often leave people behind,” says Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of GM. “At GM, the transition to an all-electric future will be equitable and inclusive.”

Highlights from the report include GM’s 2020 data center, which features the latest data points across a range of key priorities, including safety, environmental, and workforce. The report also includes more information about GM’s environmental, social, and governance management strategy, including a recap of progress made toward the company’s all-electric future; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and sustainability goal performance from 2010-2020.

The full report is available here.

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