General Motors Launches New Fund to Advance Climate Equity

Ken Zino of Auto on General Motors Calls for ‘Equitable Climate Action’

GM Chair Mary Barra with General Catalyst Chair Ken Chenault at Aspen Ideas Festival June 2021 to talk climate change. Barra announced the creation of a new $25 million Climate Equity Fund.

Today, GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra expanding on GM’s previous climate commitments said the company would “prioritize equitable climate action to help ensure its all-electric future is inclusive for its current and future workforce; customers; and communities that may be more likely to disproportionately experience the effects of climate change.”

The company also announced the creation of a new $25 million Climate Equity Fund, “dedicated to helping close equity gaps in the transition to electric vehicles and other sustainable technology.” The philanthropic fund joins the company’s $35 billion global investment in EV and AV programs, research, technology, manufacturing and charging infrastructure.

“Climate change does not impact every community equally. 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 said during the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Barra also emphasized four areas:

  • The Future of Work: GM 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: GM 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 to bring 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. GM 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 – the future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity.

Barra said GM will be guided by five principles:

  1. Make mobility safer, more accessible and more environmentally friendly for all.
  2. Incorporate and normalize equity considerations across our business operations and program implementation efforts, including workforce strategy, sustainability efforts, and products and services.
  3. Work with community-based stakeholders to identify their unique needs, assets and priorities as well as collaboratively assist impacted communities.
  4. 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.
  5. Help fund the organizations that are providing equitable access to a more sustainable future.

Climate Equity Fund

Beginning today, GM 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: future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity. GM said it will prioritize grassroots organizations working at the community level.

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