American multinational General Motors, or GM, has committed to generating or sourcing 100% of the electricity for its operations across 59 countries from 100% renewable energy by 2050.
GM made the announcement on Wednesday, revealing that it planned to generate or source all its electrical power needs for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100% renewable energy such as wind, solar, and landfill gas, by 2050. In turn, the company has joined the 100% renewable energy campaign RE100, lending its considerable global business weight to an already important and successful campaign.
“Establishing a 100% renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environmental impact,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”
GM has committed itself to redefining its image as it aims to strengthen its business, improve communities, and address climate change. In line with this, joining RE100 will lend GM’s experiences to the global initiative attempting to further and aid the number of companies moving to 100% renewable energy targets. This makes the 70th company to join the RE100 initiative.
“It makes business sense for companies to pursue the use of renewables because it improves the bottom-line and takes advantage of energy cost certainty for long-term planning,” added David Tulauskas, GM’s Director of Sustainability.
The road ahead for GM is not insignificant: In 2015 the company required 9 terawatt hours of electricity for all its operations, manufacturing, and offices around the world. While the company appears not to have published any specific timetable or requirements necessary for their new target, GM proudly boasts of its “pioneering” use of renewable energy, which over the 20 years it has been in use has saved GM $80 million, and currently saves the company $5 million annually. The company is already in the process of adding 30 MW of solar arrays at two facilities in China, and expects to exceed its target 125 MW of renewable energy by 2020 by the end of this year.
“This bold and ambitious commitment from General Motors will undoubtedly catch the attention of the global automotive industry,” said Amy Davidsen, North America executive director at The Climate Group. “GM has already saved millions of dollars by using renewable energy, and like any smart business that recognizes an investment opportunity, they want to seize it fully. We hope that through this leadership, other heavy manufacturing companies will be inspired to make the switch too.”