This year’s Aspen Ideas Festival is in full swing, with interactive sessions covering issues ranging from democracy to science, the USA’s role on the world stage, and inequality. Joining a line up that includes Elizabeth Alexander, Chris Krebs, Yo-Yo Ma, Neal Katyal and Diana Trujillo, General Motors’ Chair and CEO Mary Barra took the stage to discuss the announcement of GM’s $25M climate equity fund, the future of work, EV access and climate equity.
The new $25 million climate-equity-focused philanthropic fund has been launched to complement GM’s $35 billion investment in EV and AV programs globally through 2025. The fund will be dedicated to helping close equity gaps in the transition to electric vehicles, and other sustainable technology. In her keynote presentation, Ms Barra reinforced the need for equity considerations as the industry accelerates toward an all-electric future, and described how GM has reinforced its focus on bringing its current workforce along while helping to build a diverse pipeline of talent as it advances its zero-emissions vision.
General Motors, expanding on their previous climate commitments, recently declared that the company will prioritise equitable climate action to help ensure its all-electric future is inclusive for its current and future workforce; customers; and communities that may be more likely to disproportionately experience the effects of climate change.
“Climate change does not impact every community equally. As we move to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, it is on us to lead positive change and implement inclusive solutions that bring everyone along, especially our employees and communities,” Barra said during the festival.
Ms. Barra also shared more about the company’s broader focus on equitable climate action, which is rooted in four key areas:
The Future of Work: The company reinforced the prioritization of its current salaried and represented workforce, including reiterating its long history of supporting unions to promote safety, quality, training and jobs for American workers. GM also publicly reiterated its support for the UAW’s efforts to organize employees at the Ohio and Tennessee Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing plants.
EV Access: The company will offer a wide selection of EVs across a range of price points, from the Bolt EV to the Cruise Origin shared autonomous vehicle. GM also recently announced programs leveraging its HYDROTEC fuel cells for rail and aircraft applications, which could help pave the way for communities to experience the benefits of zero-emissions mobility beyond the motor vehicle.
Infrastructure Equity: GM is committed to ubiquitous charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are. The company also understands the need to help address charging deserts and other scenarios that can hinder EV ownership.
Climate Equity: GM will help fund organizations that are closing the climate equity gap at the community level and across four key areas: the future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity.
As the company works to address the key priorities under its equitable climate action framework, it will be guided by five principles, said Barra.
Climate Equity Fund
Beginning today, the company is accepting proposals for funding from its new Climate Equity Fund. Potential grantees are encouraged to submit proposals aligned to GM’s four climate equity social outcomes: future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity. The company will prioritize grassroots organizations working at the community level.