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General Motors Commits to Focus on Sustainability

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【Summary】GM recently released its Sustainability Report in which it promises to increase sustainability through strategies like electrification, autonomous driving, and renewable energy.

Mia Bevacqua    Jun 25, 2018 11:00 AM PT
General Motors Commits to Focus on Sustainability
author: Mia Bevacqua   

General Motors – the purveyor of behemoth SUVs such as the Suburban – promises to focus on sustainability going forward. 

The company recently released its Sustainability Report, in which it asserts its potential to "prevent 1.25 million lives lost in vehicle crashes; help eliminate the more than 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from vehicle emissions; and reduce congestion, giving commuters back time otherwise spent in traffic."

With fresth leadership at the helm, the Detriot giant appears to be trying to turn things around. The report outlines how it intends to reach its goal. 

More electric vehicles: GM plans to launch 20 new, all-electric cars by 2023. The company has done quite well with the electrified Bolt and plans to ramp up production on it as well. By working with utilities, communities, and governments, the automaker also hopes to accelerate the creation and acceptance of charging infrastructure.

Increased fuel economy: Until the EV takeover, GM will be refining internal combustion efficiency. Powertrain technology, aerodynamics, and weight reduction will all play a part in reaching this goal. The company states it has shed more than 5,000 lbs. across its fleet since 2016, saving 35 million gallons of fuel and 300 thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Autonomous driving: Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon for self-driving cars, and GM is no exception. The company's Cadillac CT6 made headlines with a hands-free piloting system called Super Cruise. Recently, it was announced that the new Cruise autonomous vehicle will be assembled at the General Motors' Orion Assembly plant in Michigan. Commercialization is slated for 2019.

Personal mobility: GM hopes to capitalize on the popularity of ride-sharing with its Maven mobility service. The General might just give Lyft and Uber a run for their money. 

Renewable energy: By 2050, GM pledges to have 100% of its electricity needs come from renewable energy sources. The company also promises it will get 20% of its wattage from renewable energy by the end of 2018. 

Clean manufacturing: The stigma of a black-smoke billowing auto plant is something GM wants to distance itself from. So far, the company is off to a good start – it surpassed its 2020 goal to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations three years earlier than planned.

STEM advocation: Detroit needs a constant flow of engineers, which it might not get if STEM education isn't increased. GM is helping to support STEM development initiatives and intends to reach 40,000 secondary students in 2018.

Diversity: You've got to give it to GM – it's the first automaker to have a female CEO and a female CFO. In fact, 32 of the company's top leadership positions are held by women, which may have something to do with its relatively new take on sustainability. Even independent third parties have recognized GMs shift in strategy. The automaker was recently added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and Corporate Responsibility Magazine's list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens. 

Source: General Motors

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