GM Receives CDP Top Rating for Climate Disclosure and Performance

(3Bl Media/Justmeans) - There is a now-famous quote attributed to Charles Wilson, who, in 1953 was the CEO of General Motors. What Wilson supposedly said was, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.”

While that was never entirely true, GM has recently been doing some things that have been good for America, and the rest of the world, which has also been good for themselves as well.

What GM has been doing is taking action to minimize their carbon emissions and being highly transparent in their reporting of those actions. Enough so that CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, gave them a perfect score of 100 in their 2014 assessment of all the companies in the S&P 500 based and disclosure and performance.

The CDP report, entitled “Climate Action and Profitability,” was undertaken to provide a massive group of investors representing some $92 trillion in assets with information on the climate actions and disclosure practices of all the companies in the S&P 500. Surveys were sent out to all 500 companies. A total of 348 responded. The report found strong correlation between climate action and profitability, specifically, return on equity (ROE).

Both disclosure and performance scores were based on the same factors with different weightings. These were:

  • Emissions methodology and Scope 1 and 2 data
  • Opportunities
  • Risks
  • Governance, strategy and communications
  • Scope 3
  • Emissions performance and trading
  • Targets and initiatives
  • Scope 1 and 2 verification

GM was one of only 27 companies to be listed as leaders in both the disclosure and performance categories. A company is only named as a leader if they fall within the top 10% of companies evaluated. Wyndham Worldwide was the only other company (out of 48) to achieved that dual ranking in the Consumer Discretionary category. GM’s grade A ranking edged out last year’s A- score. GM had income before taxes of $2.7 billion for the first six months of last year, but that figure dropped to just $89 million for the equivalent period this year due to some costly recalls.

Some of the other companies to reach the leadership level in both categories were Wal-Mart (scoring 98), Spectra Energy (100), Bank of America (100), CSX Corporation (98), Stanley Black & Decker (100), and Apple, Inc. (99). GM was the only automotive company to reach that level.

Says CEO Mary Barra, “Our CDP ranking shows that we’re measuring and pulling insight from our energy and carbon data to capitalize on opportunities for greater efficiency. It reinforces our stewardship and sustainability goals. Responding to CDP helps us communicate to the financial community that we’re prepared for changing market demands and emissions regulation.”

The automaker was also honored earlier this year by US EPA as an Energy Star Partner of the Year- Climate Communications Award. That award recognized GM’s efforts to raise consumer awareness of climate change. They also received a Sustained Excellence award for its superior energy management practices. The company reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 158,000 tons through internal efficiency measures.

Image courtesy of General Motors under Creative Commons license.