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Sustainability Chief Champions Green Efforts at GM

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Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly
Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly
Photo: General Motors

In January, Dane Parker reported to his new position at General Motors — chief sustainability officer — the first ever in the automaker’s history. Previously, Parker’s job title was vice president of sustainable workplaces at GM. In his new position, Parker will help GM become one of the most sustainable companies across the globe.

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“I look at sustainability in simple terms: Making decisions today so we can thrive in the future and thrive in every sense of the word — as an individual and as a full workforce, drive renewable energies and do what’s good for the planet,” Parker explained to Detroit Free Press writer Jamie L. LaReau.

GM sustainability goals

To establish itself as a leader in sustainability, the automaker has set specific goals in addition to reducing facility waste. First on their list is zero-waste production in 90 percent of its facilities around the world by the year 2025. By 2030, renewable energy will power all GM plants in the U.S., and half of the components on each new vehicle will be made with recycled materials. The rest of GM’s global facilities will hit the renewable energy mandate by 2040.

For years, GM has made a concerted effort to reduce waste in its facilities, which makes the automaker on course to reach its first sustainability goal.

“We have over 100 sites globally that are landfill-free,” Parker said. “We’re raising the bar on ourselves by not including waste that goes to incinerators. So we started from a good place and we think we’re going to make it by 2025.”

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Energy sourced from the wind and sun will power several of its facilities by 2023. These facilities include the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit (GM’s global headquarters), the Tech Center in Warren, Pontiac’s Global Propulsion Center, Milford Proving Ground, and the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, which is now dedicated to GM’s manufacturing of electric vehicles.