GM Releases 10th Annual Sustainability Report Outlining 2019 Progress and Plans for the Future


General Motors today released its 10th annual sustainability report, providing transparency and accountability on its progress and key accomplishments. The report outlines GM’s stance on key issues like environmental stewardship, safety, inclusion, and health and well-being.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, GM has remained committed to its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. While the pandemic caused GM to temporarily suspend operations in Canada, the company continued to make progress on its electric vehicle development, and all Ultium platform EVs remain on schedule.

GM is also on track to:

  • Allocate more than $27 billion of capital and engineering resources to its electric and autonomous vehicle programs between 2020 and 2025.
  • Deliver EVs that will allow GM to compete for nearly every customer, from those seeking a high-performance machine to a full-size truck. The Ultium battery enables a breadth of vehicles to be built across brands and segments on the same platform. Upcoming products include the Cadillac LYRIQ, which will go into production in 2022; the GMC HUMMER EV, which will go into production in late 2021; and the Cruise Origin.

“The past several months have been difficult and our world has changed. As we move through the world in a new way, GM is as determined as ever to create solutions that lead to a better future for all,” said GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “GM remains focused on delivering on our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, while becoming the most inclusive company in the world.”

“As we adjust to a new normal around the world, GM Canada will continue to play a significant role in contributing to GM’s vision,” said Scott Bell, GM Canada president and managing director. “We are committed to doing our part and leading by example to create a better, safer and more sustainable future.”

GM also recognizes the need for companies to leverage resources and leadership to drive positive change for the common good. During the pandemic, GM Canada has been contracted to provide the Federal Government of Canada 10 million face masks over the next year and on July 10th, celebrated achieving its first-millionth-produced milestone.

This is the first sustainability report to be released since GM made a commitment to become the most inclusive company in the world. To achieve this goal, GM commissioned an Inclusion Advisory Board. Chaired by Mary Barra, the board consists of internal and external advisors dedicated to guiding GM’s commitment to building a culture that is safe and equitable.

2019 Canadian Sustainability Highlights

Zero Waste Future: Since 2009, we have been committed to eliminating waste. Today, all our manufacturing operations and four of our non-manufacturing sites are landfill free. Overall, these sites dispose of more than 95 per cent of their waste through recycling and reuse, and the remainder is sent to Energy from Waste facilities.

Our Renewable Energy (RE) Journey: Under construction at the GM St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, Ontario, is our energy cogeneration project, the first at GM Canada to use waste heat for energy. When commissioned by the end of 2020, it will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 77 per cent, while producing 6.4 MW of renewable electricity.

Energy Conservation: GM uses an energy management system (EMS) and performance contracts to achieve energy-reduction goals. In 2019, GM Canada’s CAMI assembly and St Catharines manufacturing plants were recognized by Natural Resource Canada’s Energy Star with certifications for demonstrating superior energy performance.

Improving Conventional Vehicle Efficiency: Over 75 per cent of GM vehicles sold in Canada in 2019 contained stop-start technology, enabling the vehicle’s engine to turn off when the car is stopped or idled. These engines provide a fuel economy benefit of between approximately three-to-five per cent, significantly decreasing CO2 emissions for consumers who face extended idle times.

Sustainable Packaging: GM has also established a sustainable package workstream. Our consumer facing packaging is now made from a minimum 35 per cent recycled content with the remaining coming from Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified sources. A recent success story has been around the masks that GM Canada is producing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with Menasha as our supplier, the two packaging boxes used for these products contain 30 per cent recycled content and remaining materials coming from (SFI)-certified sources.

Enterprise Safety Culture: GM believes safety begins with a decision. Our vision is for each person to decide to keep themselves and their team members safe. To further develop a strong safety culture, during 2019, we conducted a detailed site cultural assessment at our CAMI plant through an external company specialized in cultural change support.

Employee Environmental Training: Environmental engineers are trained on GM compliance systems and how to effectively evaluate regulatory and company requirements. GM Canada will be introducing a company-wide sustainability course to support our new sustainability goals.

GM Community Impact Grants: In Canada, $1.9 million was donated to non-profits that impacted more than 150,000 Canadians. This included partnerships with five universities that sent over 1,100 youth to STEM camps across the country, supported by GM volunteers.

The full report can be found here: 2019 Sustainability Report.