General Motors

InfluenceMap Score
C-
Performance Band
67%
Organisation Score
43%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Automobiles
Head​quarters:
Detroit, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Cadillac, Opel, Vaxhaull, Chevrolet
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: General Motors (GM) is heavily engaged with US climate legislation with mixed engagement in 2019-21. The company communicates broad top-line support for action on climate including support for the Paris Agreement and has stated support for the climate provisions of the US Build Back Better act. However, GM has a history of negative lobbying on regulation within the transport sector, particularly around US CAFE regulations. GM retains memberships to regressive trade associations, many of which have been key in opposing climate regulation in the US and EU.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In an April 2021 GM presentation to the EU Commission, GM expressed support for GHG emissions reductions in line with the 1.5°C target, which it advocated for further in its 2020 Sustainability Report, and in a September 2021 US consultation response, where the company expressed support for the Paris Agreement. 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". The company frames much of its sustainability work around its “vision of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion”. GM has also signalled support for policies that place a price on carbon in its 2020 Sustainability Report, a July 2020 press release and a September 2020 Market Watch media report.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: According to a September 2021 US consultation response, GM 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. However, in response to the EPA's proposal to increase GHG emissions standards for vehicles in December 2021, a press communication from GM suggested support for the proposal. While the company states that it supports the EPA's proposed ‘historically stringent’ GHG standards for vehicles in its 2021 Public Policy report, it has a history of opposing ambitious standards in the US. 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”. GM was also part of a group of companies who wrote a letter to President Donald Trump in June 2019, which advocated against the freezing of federal CAFE standards, although it also proposed standards weaker than those set under the Obama Administration.

While GM previously opposed California’s ability to set its own emissions standards, repeatedly signalling 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. However, 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. GM also appeared to support weaker national US energy efficiency standards for light duty vehicles according to a March 2021 Tampa Bay Times media report.

In April 2021, GM also 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.

Positioning on Energy Transition: General Motors has mixed engagement with policies to promote electric vehicles, with evidence of increasingly positive support in 2021. A key aspect of GM’s US advocacy is its proposed National Zero Emissions Vehicle (NZEV) program in the US. However, this proposal is in fact weaker than many existing measures to promote electric vehicles in the US: GM’s plan would create a national sales requirement significantly weaker than already existing state standards through 2025, including in its 2021 Public Policy Disclosure. Aside from its NZEV plan, the company has also supported a number of other measures to encourage the uptake of EVs in the United States, including consistently supporting a higher cap on the US federal EV tax credit, infrastructure investments and purchase incentives, all in 2021. Additionally, General Motors 2021 Public Policy report stated support for the climate provisions of the US Build Back Better Act, including the EV Consumer Tax Credit. 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. 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. In November 2021, GM 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.

Industry Association Governance: GM appears to have mixed transparency over its indirect influence through industry associations. GM discloses a list of key industry association memberships in its 2021 'Public Policy Supplement' industry association review. General Motors disclosed partial misalignment with their memberships of two industry associations in this review, including for the US Chamber of Commerce, which has negatively lobbied US climate legislation, and Business Roundtable, which has mixed engagement with US climate policy. In September 2021, GM's CEO, Mary Barra, was appointed chair of Business Roundtable. GM is also a member of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, who have mixed engagement on US climate policy, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), who have negative engagement on US climate legislation.

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DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
51%
 
51%
 
52%
 
52%
 
27%
 
27%
 
27%
 
27%

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.