Andrea Ranger, Shareholder Advocacy, email@example.com, 781-349-2813;
Pam Podger, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-299-9495
Boston, June 20, 2023 – General Motors released the results of the shareholder vote on a Green Century° proposal asking the company to improve the sustainability of its aluminum, steel, rubber, and leather supply chains. Votes cast in favor reached 14.3% for this first-year proposal, which asked the company to disclose the environmental impacts of these key materials, procure more low-carbon aluminum and steel, and eliminate deforestation associated with producing leather and rubber.
In recent years, General Motors has set several aggressive targets – one to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and another to make and sell only electric light-duty vehicles by 2035. However, the company has not established clear targets for procuring green steel or aluminum, even though both industries can electrify some of their operations and use renewable energy to do so. Further, GM has yet to join industry associations such as ResponsibleSteelTM, a coalition which created a certification system for green steel and is working to increase customer demand for green steel manufacturing.
Additionally, GM may be sourcing leather and rubber used for car interiors and tires from areas that are associated with deforestation. For example, in Brazil, which is considered a major source of leather for U.S. auto manufacturers, raising cattle is a leading cause of deforestation. The growth and expansion of rubber plantations in Southeast Asia and West Africa – the two primary areas in the world where latex for car tires is harvested – threatens the destruction of biodiverse ecosystems in those regions. Nevertheless, GM currently lacks public targets, milestones and metrics that would indicate progress toward eliminating its exposure to deforestation from rubber plantation expansion or destruction of tropical forests from cattle ranching.
In response to the vote, Green Century Funds President Leslie Samuelrich said:
“We believe that even with a full transition to electric cars and trucks by 2035, GM has exposure to significant environmental risks. Ultimately, we don’t think GM wants to be associated with deforestation. If the company wants to clean up its steel and aluminum supply chains, it should invest now in the transition to low-carbon steel and aluminum. Waiting only postpones much needed emissions cuts across the globe.”
Andrea Ranger, Green Century shareholder advocate, added:
“As one of the largest auto companies in the world, GM has a leadership role to play in addressing climate and deforestation risk. Many European auto companies, such as BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Volvo, are making commitments to source low-carbon metals. GM has an opportunity to catch up and lead the way for American manufacturers. Moreover, few manufacturers are addressing deforestation risk within their supply chains. GM could set an industry-wide standard by adopting near-term targets for zero deforestation.”
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds).
The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.