GM 2021 Sustainability Report – Equitable Climate Actions

Ken Zino of on GM 2021 Sustainability Report - Equitable Climate Actions

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General Motors today released its 12th annual Sustainability Report, explaining how it is expanding EV access, electrifying beyond automobile, as well as how it is trying to ensure that climate action is equitable and inclusive as the company transitions to an all-electric future.

“General Motors is embracing our opportunity and our responsibility to create a better world for today and for generations to come,” said Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Our global teams are working with great speed and integrity to make our vision of a zero-emissions, all-electric future a reality that is inclusive and accessible to all.”

The report comes after a Q1 earnings report that showed financial performance that was down for shareholders – at $1.35 per share, off $0.68 compared year-over-year. Overall, Q1 net earnings of $ 2,939,000,000 came from $11 billion in revenue, with a Net Income margin of 8.2%, down 1.1 ppts.GM’s Q1 market share was 9% on sales of 1.4 million units. Market share was down year-over-year due to semiconductor shortages and lack of dealer inventory. GM has an ambitious strategy that it must execute almost flawlessly to retain its position among other leading global automakers. Thus far old-style equity analysts seem baffled by the strategy and the need to rethink capitalism’s demonstrated failure to protect people and the environment. **  (GM Q1 $4 billion. Net $2.9B)

GM set targets early last year to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040 and work toward a transition to 100% zero tailpipe emissions for new light-duty vehicles by 2035. GM continues its transition to an all-electric future, planning to reach more than 1 million units of EV capacity in each of North America and China by 2025. In late 2021, GM set a significant  milestone by opening of Factory ZERO, GM’s first plant fully dedicated to EV assembly in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.

GM is making significant progress here. Companies comprising 53%  of its annual purchase value of GM’s tier 1 materials have already signed its Environmental, Social and Governance Partnership Pledge (GM Asks Suppliers to Pledge on Taking Global Climate Actions). This is GM walking the talk because it calls for social and governance commitments, including human rights protections and fair operating practices.

The supplier pledge expands on GM’s goal to bring “Everybody In” for the all-electric future with a commitment to establishing a collaborative supply chain that endeavors to minimize environmental impact and enhance long-term sustainability. GM will continue to provide support as it identifies opportunities for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, provide educational webinars and resources, and develop tools to help remove barriers in the transition to renewable energy.

In January, GM announced a $7 billion investment in four Michigan manufacturing sites, expected to create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 jobs, while significantly increasing battery cell and electric truck manufacturing capacity. Additional sites in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Ingersoll, Ontario, are also in the process of converting to EV-related manufacturing with support from GM’s recent $35 billion investment in EV and autonomous vehicles through 2025. GM is also investing nearly $750 million through 2025 to expand charging for residences, workplaces and public areas.

GM also launched BrightDrop since its last report, which offers a portfolio of all-electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services, including electric delivery vans and e-carts, to enable delivery and logistics companies move goods more efficiently. (BrightDrop? General Motors New Business Claims It Will Electrify, Improve Goods and Services Delivery; GM’s CAMI Assembly Hastens BrightDrop EV600 Production)

GM’s 2021 Sustainability Report Highlights

The Future of Work: GM reinforced the prioritization of its current salaried and represented workforce. This includes 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 Chevrolet Bolt EV to the Cruise Origin shared autonomous vehicle. GM also recently announced programs using its HYDROTEC fuel cells for rail and aircraft applications, which could help pave the way for communities to experience the benefits of zero-emissions mobility beyond the motor vehicle.

Infrastructure Equity: GM is committed to abundant charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are. The company also understands the need to help address charging deserts and other scenarios that can hinder EV ownership.

Climate Equity: GM launched its $50 million Climate Equity Fund. Since its launch, the fund has supported 30 non-profit organizations that are working to close the climate equity gap at the community level.  (GM is Doubling its Climate Equity Fund)

**Consider the pressure old-line automakers are under: For Q1 2022 Tesla reported $3.22 earnings per share, and revenue of $18.76 billion. Vehicle sales were only 310,048. Moreover, Tesla reported record automotive margins of 32.9%. Ford Motor during Q1 was also battered by supply chain disruptions mostly beyond its control, as well as self-created costs from the valuation of its investment in  the startup ‘wanna be’ EV-maker Rivian with a mark-to-market loss of $5.4 billion on the company’s investment down from $10.6 billion at the end of 2021. Strong customer demand from the ongoing Biden Administration recovery wasn’t helped by GM or Ford’s popular vehicles because of persistent supply chain issues they were unable to adjust for. There is also a looming affordability crisis as prices are reaching record levels.

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