General Motors

InfluenceMap Score
C
Performance Band
67%
Organisation Score
53%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Automobiles
Head​quarters:
Detroit, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: General Motors (GM) is highly engaged in US climate legislation with mixed but increasingly positive positioning in 2021-22. The company appears to support some measures to accelerate the electrification of road transport in the US, including EV tax credits in the US Build Back Better Act. However, GM also continues to have more mixed or negative engagement on GHG emissions standards for both light and heavy-duty road vehicles, both at the state and federal level in the US.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: GM has positive top-line messaging on climate change in 2021-22. In an April 2021 presentation to the EU Commission found via FOI, General Motors expressed support for GHG emissions reductions in line with the 1.5°C target. In its 2022 Sustainability Advocacy Report published in December 2022, the company stated support for the goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as the re-entry of the US into the Agreement in a January 2021 C2ES joint letter. In a January 2021 press release, GM CEO, Mary Barra, expressed support for government regulation to respond to climate change, stating that “as one of the world’s largest automakers, General Motors seeks to lead our industry and our world toward zero by 2050 goals". In January 2022, The Hill reported that GM CEO, Mary Barra, met with President Biden to show support for climate provisions in the US Build Back Better Act. GM has also signaled support for policies that put a price on carbon, for example in its 2022 Sustainability Advocacy Report, published in December 2022.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: In a September 2022 press release, GM advocated for tougher federal light-duty vehicle emissions standards to help ensure at least 50% of new light-duty vehicles sold by 2030 are zero-emissions and consistent with eliminating tailpipe emissions from new passenger vehicles by 2035. According to a September 2021 US consultation response, however, General Motors appeared to support a mid-range proposal for increasing the stringency of US GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles in 2023-2026, while supporting numerous flexibilities in compliance to weaken the stringency of the proposal, and appearing unsupportive of the higher proposed standards from the EPA. More negatively, at a January 2022 CEO Roundtable meeting with President Biden, General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, appeared unsupportive of ambitious US GHG emissions standards for vehicles, referring to the goals as “aggressive”. The company also states that it supports the EPA's proposed ‘historically stringent’ GHG standards for vehicles in its 2021 Public Policy report.

While GM previously opposed California’s ability to set its own emissions standards, repeatedly signaling its support for a national standard and entering into legal proceedings against California on the matter, in November 2020, GM withdrew from this legal action, and in June 2021 appeared to change position, announcing support for California's standards in a letter to the EPA. In a September 2021 US consultation response, GM again appeared to oppose California setting more ambitious GHG emissions standards for vehicles, appearing to support one national program only. However, a GM press release in January 2022 stated that "GM recognizes California's authority to set vehicle emission standards under section 209 of the Clean Air Act and is committed to complying with California's regulations."

Regarding other US federal climate policy, in April 2021, General Motors signed a joint letter that stated support for a 50% US GHG emissions reduction target for 2030. GM also signed a joint letter in July 2021 directly advocating to Congress to support a US Federal Clean Energy Standard that will achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. GM also discloses support for the advanced energy project investment tax credits and the solar and wind provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act in its 2022 Sustainable Advocacy report.

With regard to federal heavy-duty vehicle policy, in its May 2022 consultation response, General Motors did not take a clear position on a proposal in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Clean Trucks Plan” that would tighten “Phase 2” GHG emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles for 2027 and beyond for certain vehicle categories. GM stated that it “supports EPA's effort to finalize medium- and heavy-duty emissions regulations that are more stringent than today's standards”, without specifying a time frame or providing any further details around ambition levels.

Positioning on Energy Transition: GM has mixed engagement on policies to phase-out light and heavy-duty ICE powered vehicles in the US, while supporting numerous policies to incentivise zero-emission vehicle sales and increased EV charging infrastructure. In a September 2022 press release, General Motors published a set of recommendations advocating for 50% of new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States by 2030 to be zero-emissions, as well as an effective 2035 ICE phase-out target. GM CEO, Mary Barra stated that its recommendations "support accelerated adoption of electric vehicles to put us on the path toward that goal". In November 2021, GM also signed a global pledge made at COP26 supporting a global phase out of ICE-powered vehicles in leading markets by 2035 and globally by 2040. In June 2021, GM testified in support of Senate Bill 500, which mandates all autonomous vehicles in California must be zero-emission beginning in 2030. However more negatively, in a May 2022 consultation response, GM took an unclear position on California's Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which aims to gradually increase the number of zero-emission vehicles sold in California up till 2035, appearing to support numerous flexibilities that may weaken the policy's stringency, including increasing historic banked credits, expanding early action credits and doubling the maximum usage allowances for pooling.

General Motors has supported several measures to encourage the uptake of EVs in the US, such as the expansion of EV charging infrastructure, as reported by CNBC in June 2022. At a January 2022 CEO Roundtable meeting with President Biden, General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, appeared to advocate for higher EV tax credits as part of the US Build Back Better bill. On a March 2022 Detroit News article, GM further appeared to support a higher US tax credit for EV purchases built by union-represented workers, while in a June 2022 joint letter to Congress, GM directly advocated for the removal of an EV tax credit cap in the US. In its 2022 Sustainability Advocacy Report, released in December 2022, GM also stated support for EV charger investment tax credits and EV purchase incentives in the US Inflation Reduction Act, alongside EV tax credits in Maryland.

General Motors appears to take a mixed position on US climate policy in the heavy-duty sector. In May 2022 public comments to the Clean Air Association of the Northeast States, GM appeared to broadly support a Multi-State Medium and Heavy Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan to accelerate the transition to zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles. However, in a May 2022 EPA consultation response on federal heavy-duty vehicle emission standards, GM appeared to support a long-term role for ICE-powered HDVs over the rapid decarbonization of heavy-duty transportation. However, GM appears not to have engaged directly with the ACT rule in any state since 2020. Additionally, in an October 2022 consultation response, GM appeared to take an unclear position on CARB’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, proposing some adjustments to the policy, including aligning with the federal Clean Air Act's required lead time to sufficiently prepare to comply with finalized regulations.

Industry Association Governance: General Motors discloses its memberships to key industry associations in its 2022 Sustainability Advocacy Report, released in December 2022. It disclosed some of GM's industry associations’ climate policy positions and GM's alignment and influence around this. The company disclosed partial misalignment with its memberships of three industry associations in the review, the US Chamber of Commerce, which has negatively lobbied US climate legislation, alongside Auto Alliance and Business Roundtable (of which GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, is currently chair), which both have mixed engagement with US climate policy. GM is also member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), both of which have negative engagement on climate legislation in the US and Korea respectively. It is also a member of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), which has negative engagement with heavy-duty vehicle climate policy in the US.

A detailed assessment of the company's corporate review on climate policy engagement can be found on InfluenceMap's CA100+ Investor Hub here.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q1 2023.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
66%
 
66%
 
50%
 
50%
 
83%
 
83%
 
90%
 
90%
 
30%
 
30%
 
54%
 
54%
 
39%
 
39%
 
31%
 
31%
 
28%
 
28%
 
36%
 
36%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.