General Motors is planning to invest $40 million in a host of clean energy efforts in an attempt to offset around 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The company says the investments will come over the next three to five years and will involve everything from solar panels for schools to encouraging wind farms and forestry projects all over the country. GM is hoping that these efforts will offset the amount of carbon dioxide put out by the 1.9 million vehicles that the manufacturer is expected to sell in 2011
GM says that it has reduced its manufacturing emissions by 60 percent since 1990, and that a separate effort has seen water use during production drop by 35 percent between 2005 and 2009 worldwide. Additionally, The General operates 75 landfill-free facilities worldwide with a total of 90 percent of the company's waste being recycled.
Goal to reduce 8M metric tons of carbon over next few years through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
$40 million commitment builds on efforts to reduce environmental impact
DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that it will invest $40 million in various clean energy projects throughout America with a goal to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The initiative is based on projects that promote energy savings, renewable energy, responsible use of natural resources and conservation in communities across the United States.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 million metric tons equals the CO2 emissions of one year of electricity use in 970,874 homes or the annual carbon reduction from 1.7 million acres of pine forest.
Chevrolet's clean energy investments to be implemented in the next three to five years may include projects such as:
Providing energy efficient technology such as smart energy sensors and solar panels to schools and other community-based facilities in need of upgrades to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and reduce heating bills.
Supporting wind farms and solar projects that deliver renewable energy to the grid and also help family farms increase their revenues per acre.
Capturing flammable methane from community landfills that delivers clean energy to the grid and improves local air quality and safety.
Contributing to forestry projects throughout America.
"GM has made great progress in reducing our environmental impact, but we know we can do more," said General Motors CEO Dan Akerson. "Chevrolet's investment is an extension of the environmental initiatives we've been undertaking for years because the solution to global environmental challenges goes beyond just vehicles.
"This is an opportunity to connect with Chevy customers through clean energy projects that directly impact them," Akerson said.
GM estimates its new carbon-reduction goal equates to the emissions in 2011 from driving the 1.9 million vehicles Chevrolet is expected to sell in the United States over the next year.
"Chevy is an iconic emblem of America and it is a big deal that it is stepping forward to address one of our greatest challenges – moving us toward a low-carbon future," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "Chevy is clearly demonstrating that companies can act now and help propel clean energy solutions."
Since 1990, GM has decreased its manufacturing emissions by 60 percent. GM also has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build fuel-efficient vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, which gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway, and the Chevy Volt electric car with extended-range capability. The Volt allows 25-50 miles of pure electric driving on a single charge after which a small gasoline engine/generator creates electricity for an additional 300 miles.
"Chevy's Volt and its clean energy investment both exemplify the bold leadership businesses can take today to address our changing climate," Claussen said." Its commitment to community-focused clean energy and energy efficiency investments will drive change and increase awareness across the country."
Other GM initiatives include reducing water use by nearly 35 percent between 2005 and 2009 at manufacturing facilities worldwide; decreasing fossil fuel at GM plants by using landfill gas, hydro and solar power; recycling 90 percent of the waste the company generates; and operating 75 landfill-free facilities, more than half of its manufacturing plants globally.
Chevy will be making investments through third-party organizations such as Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore. To define project criteria and the program's investment portfolio, GM has engaged environmental experts, non-government organizations and academics through the Climate Neutral Business Network. Advisors include:
Bob Sheppard, vice president of corporate programs at Clean Air-Cool Planet
Derik Broekhoff, vice president of policy at Climate Action Reserve
Mark Kenber, deputy CEO at The Climate Group
Snehall Desai, Sustainability Marketer
Janet Peace, vice president at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Eban Goodstein, director of the Center for Environmental Policy, Bard College
"Chevy understands that to lead in the environmental arena it needs to collaborate with experts from outside its industry," said Goodstein. "Their engagement of NGOs and academia in development of the scope and strategy of this initiative shows their commitment to projects that will make the most impact across America's communities."
For more information about Chevrolet's clean energy investment initiatives, visitwww.chevycarbonreduction.com. Also, for ongoing updates go to the ChevyCarbon Twitter handle, Facebook tab Cleaner Energy or GM's BeyondNow blog.