While in town for the 2015 North American International Auto Show and General Motors’ annual stakeholder meeting, climate expert Mindy Lubber who advocates for sustainability leadership, met with several GM executives and employees from various departments for a roundtable discussion on GM’s performance on climate change and how the automaker can continue its progress.
As reported from GM’s own blog, FastLane, the president of the nonprofit Ceres talked about how the private sector can bring social and environmental change. “The power of a company like GM can chart a future. We need to work more closely with the private sector to see sustainability issues as a corporate theme, not as philanthropy or as a nice thing to do.”
GM has had a relationship with Ceres for over 20 years. “Two decades ago, auto companies weren’t talking sustainability or making commitments. Back then there were so many things to change, but GM said it was a journey they wanted to be on. You have a long way to go, but have delivered an enormous amount of progress.”
Lubber added, “You can’t create change if you don’t have investors saying it’s OK to invest in sustainability. Customers are starting to say, ‘We want cars that are the future model of transportation’ — EVs, hybrids. And employees are motivated by companies doing honest, good work; sustainability gives you that edge to recruit the best and brightest.”
A GM employee was in agreement on the power of employees. Tom Wickam said, “It’s about how we can influence change through our employees. It’s the things we do on a voluntary basis such as voluntary river cleanups and recycling drives. We need to get people to understand it’s more than just what we’re doing at work— cultural, social change happens at home, too. If every one of our 219,000 employees did three things in the community…that’s social impact.”