Inside GM's Sustainability Initiatives - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions  -  October 4, 2021 - By Kristen Siemen, General Motors

Inside GM's Sustainability Initiatives

The latest IPCC report suggests that we’re in a pivotal decade for climate action. As business leaders and governments gather at Climate Week, we need to ask the hard questions about what’s next now that many large businesses have expressed a desire to be carbon neutral.

We’ve seen the impacts climate change can have on different regions and how they might affect the living conditions of communities that are already vulnerable. The realities of climate change aren’t the same in every community, and our solutions can’t be the same either.

Striving for corporate sustainability and operational excellence can no longer be the main goal for businesses, but a part of a broader strategy that prioritizes equity and inclusion when driving climate action.  

Earlier this year, we announced our commitment to becoming carbon neutral in our global products and operations by 2040, as well as working to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. For GM, how we achieve an all-electric future matters and we continued to build on this commitment by calling for equitable climate action to help ensure that our transition to an all-electric future is inclusive of our current and future workforce, customers and communities.

Under this Equitable Climate Action initiative, GM will prioritize inclusive solutions that are rooted in four key areas:

1.    Bringing our own workforce along on our journey and building a pipeline of diverse talent for the future

2.    Making electric vehicles accessible across a range of styles, products and price points

3.    Expanding charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are

4.    And helping to ensure no community is left out of sustainable technology and solutions

We also launched a new $25 million Climate Equity Fund to help close the equity gap in this transition, complementing our existing $35 billion global investment in EV and AV programs, research and manufacturing. Through this philanthropic fund, we will prioritize supporting organizations that are helping to close the climate equity gap at the community level.  

As GM moves toward improving EV access, advancing infrastructure equity, and seeking climate justice, we know this important work will be driven by our current and future workforce who share our vision. People like Geraldine Barnuevo, who grew up with the desire to create a better world for future generations.

Though there is plenty of work to be done as we fulfill our commitments, our path has never been more apparent: just like Geraldine, we intend to leave the world in a better place than we found it.



This column originally appeared as a blog from Kristen Siemen.

Kristen Siemen was appointed vice president of Sustainable Workplaces and Chief Sustainability Officer in February 2021. She will help lead General Motors to a future with zero emissions as the company continues to take bold actions against climate change, including GM’s commitment to become carbon neutral in its products and operations by 2040. In her most recent role as executive director, Global Energy Strategy, Certification, Compliance and Test Labs, Siemen led a cross-functional leadership team responsible for setting corporate energy strategies, including the introduction of fuel economy improvement technologies as well as initiatives aligned with GM’s vision of a zero-emissions future. Siemen worked closely with the Sustainability Office to develop GM’s aspiration to eliminate all tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 as well as the development of the company’s science-based targets. Siemen has been a member of the General Motors team for over 25 years.


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