More Than a Quarter of Shareholders Concerned General Motors Will Put the Brakes on Greenhouse Gas Reductions
26% of Shareholders Seek Disclosure about Company’s Future Carbon Competitiveness in a Global Economy
Contacts: Danielle Fugere, (510) 735-8141, [email protected]
DETROIT, MI—June 12, 2018—Today, General Motors (GM) shareholders voted on a resolution filed by shareholder representative As You Sow urging the Company to report on how it will address the Trump administration’s proposed weakening of CAFE standards. 26% of GM’s shareholders asked the company for clarity on whether, and to what degree, the company will change its product plans and business strategy as a result of the announced weakening of standards.
“No matter what the Administration does, it is imperative for automakers to continue current or better progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles – one of the largest single sources of global emissions,” said As You Sow President, Danielle Fugere. “A weakened federal standard could put GM behind the curve. Growth in vehicle markets will occur primarily outside the U.S., including in Asian markets such as China and India. In those markets, air pollution and climate change concerns are prompting strengthened fuel economy standards and new vehicle technologies such as electric vehicles.” Whether GM is positioned to compete successfully in these markets in light of the planned weakening of U.S. fuel economy standards is in question.
Current CAFE standards raise the national fuel economy requirement to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. This is in line with other countries. The European Union plans to meet a fuel standard of 56.8 gallons by 2021. China set its standard at 47.7 gallons by 2020. India, South Korea, and Japan all have comparable fuel-efficiency goals. In addition, bans on internal combustion engines are going into effect in Germany and a host of other countries, while China and India are mandating increasingly higher levels of Electric Vehicle (EV) sales.
“Weakened CAFE standards are a real risk to GM’s competitiveness,” said Fugere. “Given more leeway in federal standards, GM may focus resources on developing large cars and trucks for the U.S. market, taking its eye off the global market where the greatest market share gains are to be found.”
Delaying emission reductions into the future will also make it more difficult economically and technologically for GM and other auto companies to achieve needed GHG reductions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Since transportation accounts for more than 28% of global carbon dioxide emissions, the automotive sector will need to deliver major emissions cuts for the world to achieve Paris climate goals.
Through this resolution and vote, shareholders are communicating their need for clear information from the company as to what path it will take if federal CAFE standards are weakened. Will the Company remain on a path of strong GHG emissions reductions in preparation for an increasingly low carbon global economy? Or will GM be stuck in reverse?
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As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and innovative legal strategies.