My years of experience as a sea kayaker in commercial waterways taught me an inviolate truth about big ships. They move inexorably slowly at first but are practically unstoppable once up to speed.
What does Sustainability mean for one of the world largest manufacturers of fossil-fuel burning, GHG-emitting, resource-consuming products? For GM, sustainable business practices mean nothing short of survival as a leaner, more efficient, more customer-responsive enterprise.
The auto maker is putting Green front and center with its first sustainability report as a new company, claiming 2011 wins that align profits, people and the planet.
I’m more intrigued by GM’s environmental stewardship goals for the next decade.
- Reduce energy intensity from facilities by 20 percent.
- Promote use of 125MW of renewable energy by 2020.
- Reduce carbon intensity from facilities by 20 percent.
- Reduce volatile organic compound emissions from assembly painting operations by 10 percent.
- Protect water quality and reduce water intensity by 15 percent.
- Reduce total waste from facilities by 10 percent.
- Promote existing landfill-free facilities while working to achieve 100 landfill-free manufacturing sites and 25 non-manufacturing sites.
- Promote and engage in community outreach on environmental and energy issues by completing one outreach activity per plant on an annual basis.
- Secure Wildlife Habitat Certification (or equivalent) at each GM manufacturing site where feasible by 2020.
As a new member of the 2012 Rutgers Environmental Stewards class, it’s all I’m thinking about. If each of us took even one of these sustainability goals for our business and home, we’d all come out ahead. Which ones appeal to you, are doable, measurable and would make a real difference in your life and communities?