General Motors is on track to secure 100 percent of the electricity it needs to power all of its US facilities with renewable energy by 2025. On Wednesday, the automaker announced it recently finalized the sourcing agreements it needs to make that feat a reality. The announcement puts GM on track to meet the most recent renewable energy target it set for itself late last year. Previously, the company had planned to power all of its US facilities with renewables by 2030. GM claims its accelerated transition will allow it to avoid producing an estimated 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions between 2025 and 2030.
As of today, GM’s energy portfolio includes sourcing agreements with 16 renewable energy plants across 10 states. The company is also working on increasing the efficiency of its factories and offices, as well as building out its on-site power generation capabilities.
“Securing the renewable energy we need to achieve our goal demonstrates tangible progress in reducing our emissions in all aspects of our business, ultimately moving us closer to our vision of a future with zero emissions,” said Kristen Siemen, GM’s chief sustainability officer.
While GM is on track toward an impressive feat, it’s worth taking a moment to contextualize what today’s announcement means in the bigger picture. Firstly, the company operates offices and factories outside of the US. Today’s announcement doesn’t cover those facilities. Secondly, even when you factor in all of GM’s buildings, they’re only a small part of the company’s total carbon footprint.
According to its most recent sustainability report, Scope 1 and 2 emissions account for only two percent of GM’s total emissions. For those who aren’t familiar with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, it’s an accounting system many companies use to source and track their emissions. The Scope 1 category includes all pollution produced directly by an organization. Scope 2, meanwhile, encompasses indirect emissions created from the electricity, heating and cooling it buys. The majority of GM’s emissions, a whopping 98 percent, aren’t produced by its facilities. Instead, they come from the company’s supply chain and the consumers using its cars.
To be fair, GM is working on reducing those emissions. In the summer of 2021, the company announced it would invest a total of $35 billion through 2025 toward electric and autonomous vehicle development. That said, the transition is something that will take time. By 2030, GM plans for EVs to account for 40 to 50 percent of the cars its sells in the US.