General Motors Expands Commitment to Responsible Water Management
GM announces new goal to reduce water intensity by 35 percent by 2035
GM joins other business leaders in addressing water challenges by signing CEO Water Mandate
DETROIT – General Motors plans to reduce water intensityⁱ of its operations by 35 percent by 2035, compared to a 2010 baseline, which could result in enough savings to fill about 4,254 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The automaker has also signed the CEO Water Mandate – a UN Global Compact initiative – joining other global business leaders to address key challenges around water security and further aligning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The CEO Water Mandate will help us accelerate our water stewardship goals and contribute to the UN SDGs,” said Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer at General Motors. “As we continue to drive efficiencies in our own manufacturing, we will also work with other endorsing companies to establish, implement and advocate for water stewardship practices that promote corporate water management that benefit people, our communities and our environment.”
Moving forward, the company will map its water progress and achievements against the mandate’s six core commitment areas: Direct Operations; Supply Chain and Watershed Management; Collective Action; Public Policy; Community Engagement; and Transparency.
While GM’s operations are not water intensive, water is required for some manufacturing processes. The company is committed to using water responsibly and efficiently, especially in water-stressed regions. Key examples include:
Zero Liquid Discharge: In the San Luis Potosí Assembly plant in Mexico, the system minimizes the reliance on well water withdrawal, purifying and transforming wastewater into reusable water for the facility’s paint and machining processes, as well as irrigation. GM’s Zero Liquid Discharge system greatly reduces water withdrawal from the local aquifer through its reuse of water.
Stormwater Reuse: At GM’s Factory ZERO plant in Detroit, formerly Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, the company built a system to reuse stormwater in its cooling towers and manufacturing processes, as well as installed additional stormwater ponds and filtration equipment to limit stormwater discharge to the Detroit River. Additionally, the installed stormwater ponds helped reduce stormwater discharge to the city of Detroit, limiting water stress during heavy storm events.
Water Treasure Hunts: The company regularly conducts these hunts to help train local plant employees in identifying water efficiency opportunities and implementing solutions.
In 2020, GM’s global water stewardship and management practices were recognized by the CDP on its Water A-List. CDP is a nonprofit organization that sets the standard for global disclosures for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. GM will continue to take action and find innovative ways to preserve water quality and conservation across its operations, supply chain and manufacturing communities.
More information about the company’s sustainability initiatives can be found in GM’s Sustainability Report.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which powers everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.
ⁱWater intensity refers to the amount of water a company withdraws per a specific product unit or financial output. Product water intensity is the volume of water withdrawn per unit of product created. The product unit may be determined by the discloser. (Source: CEO Water Mandate)