General Motors

Index Sustainability Report for General Motors

Company Evaluation

GM had set goals to transition to 100% zero tailpipe emissions for new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and to become carbon neutral in its global operations and products by 2040. However, it is difficult to really follow their progress. The amount of decreased GHG emissions since 2018 is insufficient. But if they follow through on their promises, they will be doing much better. The Future of Work, EV Access, Infrastructure Equity, and Climate Equity are the company’s four focal points for equitable climate action. Additionally, it reached a significant milestone in late 2021 with the opening of Factory ZERO, the business’s first facility entirely devoted to EV assembly. Finally, they have a solid online reputation. Regretfully, despite everything, they have more plans than they do, which prevents them from being a successfully sustainable business just yet. The grade is C overall.

Outlook: Neutral

General Motors Sustainability Scorecard



Technical Annex



300 Renaissance Ctr, Detroit, MI 48243

(313) 556-5000

Stock Ticker


General Motors Activity

In Brief

The General Motors Company (GM) is an American multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, United States. General Motors operates manufacturing plants in eight countries. Its four core automobile brands are Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. It also holds interests in Chinese brands Wuling Motors and Baojun as well as DMAX via joint ventures. In addition, GM also owns the BrightDrop delivery vehicle manufacturer, which produces military vehicles for the United States government and military, the vehicle safety, security and information services provider OnStar, the auto parts company ACDelco, and majority ownership in the self-driving cars enterprise Cruise LLC.


88,400 employees

General Motors Sustainability Activity

Although losing out on the top spot as the largest automaker to Toyota in 2008, GM is still one of the leading automotive companies in the world. It has made large sustainability promises, focusing on safety, diversity and electric vehicles under their vision of ‘zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion’.

Annual Revenue

$127 billions

Market Cap: $55.22 billions

ESG Awards, Ratings & Awards

ESG ratings
  • Bloomberg Gender Equality Index
  • Dow Jones Sustainability indices 
  • CDP Climate and Water Security A List
  • #191 Best Employers for Veterans (2022)
  • #149 Mexico’s Best Employers (2022)
  • #73 World’s Best Employers (2022)
  • America’s Best Employers By State (2022)
  • #342 Best Employers for Women (2022)
  • #109 Canada’s Best Employers For Diversity (2022)
  • #259 Best Employers for New Grads (2022)
  • #69 Global 2000 (2022)
  • #329 Best Employers for Diversity (2022)
  • #256 America’s Best Large Employers (2022)
  • #109 Canada’s Best Employers (2022)
  • #216 America’s Best Employers (2021)
  • #28 Just Companies (2021)
  • Ethisphere – 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies list
  • Diversity Inc Top 50 Companies for Diversity

Chief Sustainability Officer

General Motors in the news: Press, Reviews and Social Media

Top Articles

1.How EVs Are Made Matters, General Motors Sustainability Chief Says

CEO of General Motors Mary Barra declared in January 2021 that by 2035, GM would only sell zero-emission vehicles. This includes a commitment to produce more than 50% of our facilities’ EVs domestically by 2025. GM is going above and beyond to uphold its commitment, investing in charging infrastructure in addition to developing battery technologies and recycling programs, workforce development programs, supplier incentives, and responsible water and energy use.

2. Green bond will power General Motors’ electric future – BNP Paribas CIB

In August, General Motors released its first green bond under its Sustainable Finance Framework. In the US, the adoption of electric vehicles has reached a tipping point: 5% of new car sales are solely powered by electricity. The US auto industry has significantly increased its EV spending, which will total US$65 billion by 2027. By 2025, GM alone has increased the amount it intends to invest in electric vehicles, fuel cells, and self-driving cars to US$35 billion.

3. GM Has Become an ‘Energy Star’ with Efficiency and Circular Programs

GM committed to cutting the energy intensity of its vehicles by 20% in 2008. has a zero-waste initiative as well to keep more than 90% of the waste produced by its manufacturing process out of landfills. The Energy Star award has been given to General Motors for ten years running. GM pledged in 2010 to reduce carbon intensity by 20% by 2020. If targets adhere to the principles of the Paris climate agreement, they are “science-based.” The decarbonization of the cars it produces is a crucial path for it. Energy Star serves as a benchmark for General Motors as it makes improvements. It arranges “energy treasure hunts” that are steered by floor and field staff. By 2040 globally and by 2030 domestically, the company will source all of the electricity for its facilities from renewable sources.


  • 2021 Energy Star Certifications for Superior Energy Management
  • ISO 14001 
  • ISO 45001

Highlights from General Motors Sustainability Report

Achievements and Setbacks

Achievements (source: GM 2021 sustainability highlights)

  • For the first time, a consolidated EEO-1 report on demographic workforce statistics was published, containing data by race/ethnicity, gender, and job category.
  • Introduced first all-electric delivery vans were, with the Zevo 600 being the fastest commercial vehicle to market in GM history.
  • DEI Maturity, Transparency, and Talent Innovation were implemented as three critical pillars to foster DEI integration throughout the company.
  • Ultium Charge 360 provides access to over 100,000 charging ports in the United States and Canada via GM smartphone apps.
  • Factory ZERO, the company’s first factory entirely dedicated to EV assembly, opens in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.

Weaknesses and Setbacks 

  • Not clear progress
  • Gender disparity in employment

Standards and Frameworks

  • SBTi standards
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 
  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
  • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

Table 1: Targets vs Progress Reported

Reducing Carbon Emissions

  • Committing to SBTi approved targets that include reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 72% by 2035 from a 2018 base year and Scope 3 GHG emissions from use of sold products of light-duty vehicles 51% per vehicle kilometer by 2035 from a 2018 base year. 
Progress reported
  • 40% decrease in absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions from a 2018 base year
  • No progress reported for the Scope 3 emissions


  • Planning to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2035
Progress reported
  • 25% renewable energy used globally


  • Aiming to reduce operational energy intensity by 35% by 2035 against a 2010 baseline
Progress reported
  • 26% decrease in energy intensity from a 2018 base year


  • Planning to reach more than 1 million units of EV capacity in each of North America and China by 2025
Progress reported
  • No progress reported


  • Planning to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035
Progress reported
  • 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup; As the world’s first zero-tailpipe-emissions, all-electric supertruck, the GMC HUMMER EV is built to navigate off-road conditions. A 24-module pack of Ultium battery cells offers a GM-estimated range of up to 329 miles.


  • Investing more than $35 billion from 2020 to 2025 in EVs and AVs
Progress reported
  • In 2021, they committed to several capital and philanthropic ventures to support the zero-emissions future. They bing everyone along and go beyond their more than $35 billion investment in EV and AV development


Designing for the Environment

  • Aiming to reduce the carbon emission footprint of sourced materials in new GM vehicles by 2030
Progress reported
  • A strategic supplier agreement with Wolfspeed, Inc. to develop and provide silicon carbide power device solutions for GM’s EV programs. The devices are expected to enable more efficient EV propulsion systems to extend EV range.
  • A nonbinding Memorandum of Understanding with GE Renewable Energy to evaluate opportunities to improve supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials and magnets, as well as copper and electrical steel, used in manufacturing of both EVs and equipment that generates renewable energy for electricity
  • A strategic relationship and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources to support development of U.S.-sourced, low-cost lithium from the Salton Sea area of California. The lithium will be produced through a closed-loop, direct extraction process that results in a smaller physical footprint, no production tailing and near-zero carbon dioxide emissions when compared to traditional processes such as pit mining or evaporation ponds.
  • Aiming to achieve over 90% waste diversion from landfills and incineration globally by 2025
Progress reported
  • 86.4% achieved in 2021


  • Aiming to reduce operational water intensity by 35% by 2035 against a 2010 baseline.
Progress reported
  • 12.5% reduction in water intensity against 2010 baseline

Content Sources

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Table 2: UN SDGs Compliance Analysis

Table 3: Sustainability Certificates, Awards and Listings

Report author name

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Camilla Ponte

Camilla Ponte

Camilla is Italian and passionate about science and scientific communication for sustainability. She spent the past 11 years based between the Netherlands and a bunch of other countries around the world. From these international experiences she learned to make clarity, kindness and understanding the backbone of her work with international teams. She also learned that there's nothing like a simple answer to a complex question, but that one can always try to answer in a simple way. She graduated in 2016 from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, with a MSc in Technology, Communication and Policy and a minor in sustainable agriculture. She worked within several sustainable agriculture initiatives, and as a project manager in software production for the past three years. Now she is excited to join Impakter as a project manager and research coordinator!

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