General Motors Co. in Detroit has created a $25-million Climate Equity Fund dedicated to investing in companies helping close equity gaps in the transition to electric vehicles and other sustainable technology.
Mary Barra, GM’s CEO, made the announcement during an online presentation during the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on Tuesday.
The philanthropic fund complements the company’s $35-billion global investment in EV and autonomous vehicle programs, research, technology, manufacturing, and charging infrastructure.
“Climate change does not impact every community equally,” Barra says. “As we move to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, it is on us to lead positive change and implement inclusive solutions that bring everyone along, especially our employees and communities.”
Barra also shared more about the company’s broader focus on equitable climate action, which is rooted in four key areas:
The Future of Work: The company reinforced the prioritization of its current salaried and represented workforce, including reiterating its long history of supporting unions to promote safety, quality, training, and jobs for American workers. GM also publicly reiterated its support for the UAW’s efforts to organize employees at the Ohio and Tennessee Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing plants.
EV Access: The company will offer a wide selection of EVs across a range of price points, from the Bolt EV to the Cruise Origin shared autonomous vehicle. GM also recently announced programs leveraging its HYDROTEC fuel cells for rail and aircraft applications, which could help pave the way for communities to experience the benefits of zero-emissions mobility beyond the motor vehicle.
Infrastructure Equity: GM is committed to ubiquitous charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are. The company also understands the need to help address charging deserts and other scenarios that can hinder EV ownership.
Climate Equity: GM will help fund organizations that are closing the climate equity gap at the community level and across four key areas: the future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity.
As the company works to address the key priorities under its equitable climate action framework, it will be guided by five principles:
- Make mobility safer, more accessible, and more environmentally friendly for all.
- Incorporate and normalize equity considerations across our business operations and program implementation efforts, including workforce strategy, sustainability efforts, and products and services.
- Work with community-based stakeholders to identify their unique needs, assets and priorities as well as collaboratively assist impacted communities.
- Advocate for inclusive and equitable climate change, renewable energy and transportation-related policies at the federal, state and local levels to help ensure a sustainable mobility future for all.
- Help fund the organizations that are providing equitable access to a more sustainable future.
GM says it is accepting proposals for funding from its new Climate Equity Fund. Potential grantees are encouraged to submit proposals aligned to GM’s four climate equity social outcomes. The company will prioritize grassroots organizations working at the community level.