GM engages suppliers in sustainability projects, report shows

13 May 2016

Recycling projects such as turning discarded employees’ water bottles into vehicle insulation were among General Motors’ green initiatives in 2015, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.

In 2015, GM joined the US Materials Marketplace, a new joint pilot project to help companies identify ways to reuse or exchange undervalued materials via an online database. 

As part of the project GM employees’ discarded water bottles were recycled into noise-reducing fabric insulation that covers the Chevrolet Equinox engine.

The bottles – collected from five of its Michigan plants – are also being turned into air filtration components and insulation in specially designed coats for homeless people.

In 2015, 78 smelters and refiners were contacted by GM and encouraged to complete an audit under the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), which is partly funded by the company to ensure conflict minerals are not making their way into the GM supply chain.

Seventy seven per cent of suppliers completed a CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) survey and more than 60 per cent of respondents have initiatives in place to reduce CO2 emissions.

Thirty five per cent of suppliers have set targets related to reducing use of water, and more than 30% have integrated water and wastewater management into their business strategies.

In China GM launched a green supply chain project in which 10 suppliers aim to achieve a 10% improvement in energy use through supplier training, third-party energy audits and conservation projects recommended by a consultant.

Subsidiary Vauxhall estimates that in the UK more than 1.25 million vehicles have been collected for scrap reuse.

GM Ecuador and Suzuki helped reduce metal scrap waste generated by nonreturnable steel shipping boxes by designing new reusable boxes that can make at least 10 trips across the Pacific. GM claims the programme saves around 300,000 kg of metal scrap annually.

GM estimated it spent $3.8bn on tier 1 suppliers in 2015 and said it had reduced CO2 emissions intensity of outsourced transportation in the US and Canada by 18%.

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