GM Takes The Pledge: 100% Renewable by 2050

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Manufacturing is an energy intensive industry. Using energy in nearly every form, businesses are constantly looking for ways to cut back on the costs associated with their excessive energy usage. High energy bills can eat away at a manufacturers bottom line and this can drive up prices for their customers and make them much less competitive. Now one manufacturer has announced that they will, by 2050, run their facilities across 59 countries entirely on renewable energy.

General Motors made this pledge on September 14th, 2016 in response to the growing calls to become more conscious about their environmental impact. GM has also signed up to join the RE100 which is a collaborative international initiative of global business leaders like Coca-Cola, Google, Nike that are committed to using 100% renewable electricity. This group is made up of 70 companies and has been a major resource for collaborative ideas and innovative ways to help these companies become much more energy efficient.

GM has over 350 facilities which required 9 terawatt hours of energy last year and the company plans to generate that power using solar, wind, or landfill gas. GM has already seen huge savings from their current renewable initiatives, saving over $5 million annually. They did acknowledge that the company as a whole would need to strengthen their energy efficiency operations to meet this ambitious goal. CEO Mary Barra sees this as an amazing opportunity for GM as it would lead to more stable energy costs for the company across the board. 

“Establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environment impact, – This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.” Barra said in a statement.

Manufacturers that utilize renewable energy will ultimately see the pay off in so many different areas throughout their business. A green, or in this case, a fully sustainable business model can help cut costs, improve the bottom line, while also being used as a valid marketing tool. Customers are beginning to become much more conscious about the environmental impact of the companies where they source their goods. Many individuals would rather purchase a vehicle whose manufacturer is committed to reducing their impact on the environment rather than a less environmentally friendly manufacturer. Furthermore, a reduction in energy costs and a more energy efficient manufacturing process can ultimately lead to a more affordable product. Businesses can factor in the savings from their renewable energy resources and those savings can trickle down to the consumer.

Companies going green was once a fad that consisted of buying energy efficient light bulbs and remembering to close the windows on hot days. Green was used as a buzzword to help marketing efforts as the environmental  trend began to take off. Now manufacturers have access to so much more information and it has showed them the true potential impact of their green initiatives’. These behemoth companies wouldn’t be putting in the time and investing  the money if it wasn’t a sound business decision.

Realizing how a manufacturer can gain from investing the time and energy into a sustainable initiative will be the first step in creating a more efficient and clean future for the manufacturing industry. The more industry leaders like GM make the pledge to run their operations on 100% renewable energy, more information will become available to smaller manufacturers to assist in their sustainable initiatives’. Collaboration will be a key component in creating a more efficient manufacturing industry and groups such as RE100 are an amazing way to help spread the word and the knowledge. Manufacturing has so much to gain from renewable energy and now is the time to take action.