General Motors Co. in Detroit today announced it has joined the Virginia-based National Wildlife Federation as a founding member of the new Climate Equity Collaborative, an initiative focused on addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and youth.
The Climate Equity Collaborative aims to engage communities, youth, and nonprofits in designing and implementing equitable and inclusive climate solutions. Its key priorities include:
- Elevating environmental justice and education within the broader climate conversation.
- Building on-ramps to the climate equity space for organizations that share the Collaborative’s values, starting with communities hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change.
- Strengthening the knowledge and leadership already existing among youth and vulnerable communities through engagement opportunities and resources.
- Driving investments to nonprofits and platforms that are advancing education, environmental justice, and economic opportunity.
GM has donated $1 million to the collaborative through its Climate Equity Fund, and it will codesign the initiative’s framework and roadmap. The National Wildlife Federation is serving as the convener alongside an ecosystem of sustainability leaders in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors.
Other founding nonprofit partners include WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Children’s Environmental Health Network, and the Community and College Partners Program.
“Too often, the people and communities most vulnerable to climate change are left out of conversations that impact their lives,” says Kristen Siemen, vice president of sustainable workplaces and chief sustainability officer at GM. “We’re proud to be a founding member of the Climate Equity Collaborative, and we invite other companies to join us in this movement to take stronger, more inclusive action on climate change.”
As a founding member of the collaborative, GM says it’s building on its commitment to ensure that its transition to an all-electric future is inclusive of employees, customers, and the communities most impacted by climate change.
In 2021, the automaker launched its Equitable Climate Action initiative and created its now $50 million Climate Equity Fund to provide philanthropic support to nonprofit organizations closing equity gaps related to climate change. The fund has provided more than 40 grants to nonprofits and benefitted approximately 1.2 million people through its programs.
“The climate crisis is hitting Black and frontline communities first and worst,” says Mustafa Santiago Ali, executive vice president of conservation and justice at the National Wildlife Federation. “The Climate Equity Collaborative and this partnership will help us ensure that efforts to address the changing climate and generational environment injustices reflect the perspectives and needs of impacted communities.
“We’re eager to build off the work to date of the Climate Equity Collaborative and inspire all communities to join us in this important work.”
The Road to Climate Week
In the lead-up to Climate Week (Sept. 19-25), GM and the National Wildlife Federation are teaming up with global climate advocate, musician and United Nations Youth Leader for Sustainable Development Goals AY Young on a road trip from the Detroit Auto Show to New York City.
Young will drive an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EUV, showcasing the growing accessibility of electric vehicles and expanding infrastructure. Young will make stops along the way to talk to students about how they can help advance equitable climate solutions. Once in New York City, Young will perform a concert with newly released music from his Project 17 album to inspire hope and climate action.