How GM plans to live up to its pledge to be a zero-emissions company

General Motors executive Craig Buchholz spelled out his company’s climate action commitments at PRDecoded.

How GM plans to live up to its pledge to be a zero-emissions company

NEW YORK: There's no ambiguity about the dangers of climate change from General Motors.

"We've been on record for some time saying that we believe that climate change and the climate crisis is real," said Craig Buchholz, SVP of global comms and corporate giving at General Motors. "When you acknowledge that, everyone has to ask themselves what is their part in that and what is their part in mitigating that?"

The automotive giant plans to convert to fully renewable energy in U.S. operations by 2025, have 40% of its portfolio be electric products by 2030, reduce emissions in light-duty vehicles by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality in products and operations by 2040, according to Buchholz.

"We've cast our vision of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion," he stated in a PRDecoded panel session with PRWeek editorial director Steve Barrett.

GM aspires to put every single person in an electric vehicle. But it realizes that the automobiles must fall within affordable price points. So, by 2025, the car maker plans to have 30 different EV models on the international market, spanning a price ladder and suiting different budgets.

"We believe we have the opportunity to really drive through the tipping point," Buchholz said.

He described GM's four-component map to provide access to electric vehicles. First, PR comes into play in understanding and addressing customers' psychological barriers against the new technology. Second, drivers must have access to charging stations. Third, GM will need to scale its workforce to meet demands, fitting within the consumer purchasing power. Finally, the company will have to train a skilled workforce.

Communications about the environment have been integral to driving business strategy. And Buchholz has observed that the conversations about carbon neutrality are completely different than three or five years ago.

"It's actually from my vantage point, kind of an exhilarating part, from a communications perspective," he said.

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