GM Canada

General Motors of Canada

Which of the 17 SDGs is your organization working towards and actively promoting?

Please describe the actions/objectives towards achieving the SDGs that you have selected above.

At GM Canada, we believe quality education is foundational to sustainable development and human prosperity. As an organization, we are invested in initiatives that provide students with STEM education, environmental literacy, and encourage equality and diversity. Our organization recently announced our GM Canada STEM Fund, a $1.6 million commitment for educational programs to encourage students in STEM and inspire the next generation of Canadian technology innovators.

GM GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) is one of our education programs that aims to empower youth to understand their impacts on local watersheds and foster a sense of environmental stewardship. Students engage in outdoor activities such as, stream water sampling, stream flow testing, and species identification to assess the overall health of the watershed. GM employees volunteer and serve as mentors to directly support students. GM Canada’s partnerships with EarthForce and local organizations provide the curriculum and ongoing support for the GREEN programs at each of our facilities.

GM GREEN now operates at 11 different GM locations across Canada with the help of local institutions. In 2017, GM GREEN engaged a total of 800 students and teachers. This year marks 21 years that the GM GREEN program has operated in Canada, and we continue to strengthen our partnerships with local schools and promote equality and diversity in STEM education.

Our organization recognizes the importance of community outreach and partnering with other organizations in the collective pursuit of a sustainable society and future. In 2017, GM Canada led 70 community outreach activities and funded $150,000 in environmental partnership projects. We work with numerous non-profits, charities, and institutions to support environmental initiatives in Canada. Together we strive to find sustainable, innovative solutions to achieve healthy communities and ecosystems.

Our organization’s vision is “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, and Zero Congestion”. This vision is foundational to our urban mobility car-sharing programs, Maven and Lyft, and our electric and autonomous vehicle research and development. These projects aim to significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the road and ultimately reduce air pollution. In 2017, GM’s Volt and Bolt EV sales accounted for 1/3 of all plug-in electric vehicles sales in Canada. Going forward, we intend to further advance our technologies and continue as an industry leader in electric vehicles sales.

Sustainable innovation, technology, and infrastructure is integral to our 0/0/0 vision and our organizational culture. Cutting edge research and development is taking place at our Canadian Technical Centre campuses in Kapuskasing, Waterloo, Oshawa, and now Markham. The newly renovated Markham Campus adds to GM’s focus on advanced software, safety systems and vehicle technologies.

The GM team is dedicated to accelerating the trajectories of climate change action while increasing our positive societal impact. Our numerous partnerships, community outreach initiatives, and innovative projects synergize our commitment to propel towards a more sustainable future.

Please specify the impact of your organization’s actions on the SDGs that you have selected above. 

GM Canada is involved in many initiatives in various areas to achieve our goals for sustainable development. Below are the categories we believe our sustainability efforts are most pertinent and impactful in and a list of some of our proudest accomplishments this past year.

Outreach and Education Programs Impact:

  • 70 environmental community outreach events with 16, 000 students engaged country-wide
  • Partnerships with EcoSpark, TREC Education, Inside Education, Carrefour Jeunesse, Carbon Farmer, LEPS
  • Strengthened relationships with local conservation authorities (CLOCA, UTRCA, NPCA)
  • $1.6 million committed to STEM education programming
  • 200+ hours GM employees volunteered for GM GREEN program in Canada

Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Impact:

  • 9 of 11 sites with Wildlife Habitat Council certification
  • 213 acres of actively managed wildlife habitat landscape
  • 4,500 trees planted, reducing CO2 emissions by 53 MT annually
  • Invasive species treatment programs, pollinator garden planting, meadow planting, and avian habitat improvement projects to strengthen and protect biodiversity and wildlife habitats
  • BioBlitz events to identify species and educate the public on wildlife conservation
  • World Environment Day activities engaging employees, youth, and community members
  • 12,000 native shrubs and trees planted over the past 5 years by CAMI Assembly Plant volunteers, community volunteers, students, and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority

Waste Reduction Impact:

  • 100% land-fill free at all GM Canada manufacturing facilities – waste recycled, reused, or converted to energy instead of landfill
  • 700kg of recycled plastic bottles transformed into car parts and coats for the homeless

Carbon Impact:

  • St. Catharine’s Renewable Energy project: landfill gas to co-generation plant estimated to reduce the sites CO2 emissions by 77%
  • Markham CTC Solar Thermal Car Port: installed a total of 162 solar panels to produce 59 MWh annually
  • CAMI Assembly: installed a total of 8 solar panels and was our first renewable energy project in Canada
  • 35 employees involved in Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program, supporting local farmers and reducing food miles by 8 MT

Please describe your goals/action plans to advance the SDGs that you have selected above in the next 5 years.

In 2013, GM Canada led 18 community outreach activities at 4 of our sites. In 2017, we led 70 community outreach activities across 11 different GM locations in Canada. Our organization is proud of this 4-year triumph and our strategy for the future is to continue this progression in all our community and education initiatives.

We are always seeking strategic partnerships and projects that will enable advancement towards a better, more sustainable world. In the past we have formed fruitful partnerships with several like-minded organizations and institutions to achieve specific goals. Our action plan going forward is to sustain our existing partnerships and create more meaningful partnerships that inspire interdisciplinary collaborations and prolific outcomes.

Our organization has quantifiable targets for technological development and sustainable urbanization. We aim to have 20 electric vehicles to the market by 2023. We have a commitment to 100% renewable energy for electricity generation by 2050. Additionally, our on-demand car-sharing programs, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles will produce measurable impacts over the next several years, reducing air pollution and the number of cars on the road.

Ultimately, strengthening our positive societal, ecological, and economic impact is foundational to GM Canada’s current practices, goals for the next 5 years, and for generations to come.

Does your organization engage in any partnerships to advance the SDGs?

GM Canada is proud of the numerous partnerships we have formed with nonprofits, institutions, conservation authorities, businesses, and individuals. We believe that strategic partnerships are imperative to progressing towards a sustainable future and we are constantly seeking innovative solutions with our partners to accelerate this movement. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the partnerships we’ve formed in pursuit of environmental and sustainable development:

  • EarthForce
  • EcoBusiness Network
  • Friends of Second Marsh
  • Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority
  • Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • University of Toronto
  • Queen’s University
  • Relay Education
  • Carrefour
  • Ontario Biodiversity Council
  • Women in Science and Engineering
  • Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
  • Western University
  • Niagara College Canada
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Forests Ontario
  • City of Oshawa
  • University of Guelph
  • Durham College
  • River Watch
  • Langley Environmental Partners Society
  • EcoSpark
  • Global Compact Network Canada
  • Sustainability CoLab
  • Windfall Ecology Centre
  • Inside Education
  • Fleming College
  • Wildlife Habitat Council
  • The Carbon Farmer
  • Emerging Leaders for Solar Energy
  • Rotman, University of Toronto
  • Schulich School of Business, York University

How are you communicating and measuring your impact towards the SDGs?

Within the organization, internal communication tactics are utilized to inform employees and encourage involvement with GM Canada’s sustainability news and events. These techniques include our internal website, email updates, employee engagement campaigns, info-graphs, monthly meetings with our Canadian facility green teams, and meetings with our global GM sustainability teams.

It is also important for us to be open and transparent with the public and our customers. We want to ensure that our commitment to sustainable development is embedded in all our practices and is strongly and accurately expressed to the community. Our methods for external communication for sustainability purposes include our public website, sustainability reports, information booths, event presentations, social media, and media interviews.

Globally, GM communicates its sustainability impact publicly through an annual Sustainability Report. This report has been prepared in accordance with the “core” guidelines of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

General Motors started working with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in 2010, when we began tracking carbon emissions and reduction activities through the CDP Climate Change Program. In 2013, we expanded our reporting to include all 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions, achieving our goal a year ahead of our original plan. GM has received perfect climate disclosure scores in the U.S. for the last three years (2016, 2015, 2014) and in 2016 was named CDP’s Climate A-List – a spot held by just 9 percent of the thousands of companies participating in CDP’s climate change program.

In addition to the climate change program, we have voluntarily participated in the CDP Water program since 2011. In 2017, we sponsored CDP’s World Water Day report, offering solutions to wastewater reuse, and were a gold sponsor of CDP’s Water & Forests Workshop.

We also participate in the CDP Supply Chain program, engaging our supply chain for the past four years in actions to reduce their emissions, mitigate their effects on climate change and strengthen their overall businesses. We asked about 200 of our suppliers to disclose their energy use and carbon emission data to CDP and offered resources to help. The 70 percent of invited companies that responded, reduced carbon emissions in total by 90 metric tons, saving a cumulative $23 billion of which 8 million metric tons and $1.2 billion was attributed to their business with GM.

Internally, GM Canada sets objectives and measures progress utilizing full staff involvement with environmental business goals engrained in business plan deployment. Environmental objectives are set and progress is measured and tracked utilizing 14001 certified Environmental Management Systems at all manufacturing locations.

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