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GM Launches $60B 'Equitable Climate Action' Plan

A new, $25 billion climate-equity-focused philanthropic fund will complement GM's $35 billion investment in EV and AV programs globally through 2025.

This week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra announced an expansion of the automotive giant's climate commitments — specifically, a focus on what she called “equitable climate action” to help ensure that 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 complements the company's $35 billion global investment in electric and autonomous (EV and AV) vehicle 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.

Barra said GM's broader focus on equitable climate action is rooted in four key areas:

  • The Evolution of Nature-Based Carbon Offsets

    Learn more from South Pole, the Arbor Day Foundation, Justdiggit and Sustainable Surf about the exploding voluntary carbon market and the wide variety of nature-based carbon-offset schemes available — at SB'21 San Diego, October 18-21.

    The future of work: The company reinforced the prioritization of its current workforce, including citing its long history of supporting unions to promote safety, quality, training and jobs for US workers. GM also publicly reiterated its support for the United Auto Workers' efforts to organize employees at the Ohio and Tennessee Ultium Cells LLC battery-cell manufacturing plants.

  • EV access: The company 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, 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 ubiquitous 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 will help fund organizations that are closing the climate-equity gap at the community level and across these four key areas.

GM says its equitable climate action framework 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 its 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. For example, GM continues to invest in the ongoing renaissance of its longtime home, Detroit — working to address root causes of inequities by providing education and workforce development, and collaborating with organizations to help address the city’s digital divide.

  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 organizations that are enabling more equitable access to a sustainable future.

Climate Equity Fund

GM is accepting proposals for funding from its new Climate Equity Fund — with priority given to grassroots organizations working at the community level. Potential grantees are encouraged to submit proposals aligned to GM's four climate equity social pillars.

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