GM Demands ESG Pledge From Suppliers

May 3, 2022 3 min read
GM Demands ESG Pledge From Suppliers

This seems rather aggressive…

General Motors isn’t trying to hide that it’s asking for suppliers to an environmental and ESG pledge. Instead, the auto giant issued a press release casting its efforts as nothing short of heroic. Called the “Environmental, Social and Governance Partnership Pledge” the company claims suppliers representing over half of the $76 billion direct material annual purchase value it made in 2021 have signed on.

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Now, that last sentence is worded awkwardly because that’s how GM put it in the press release. That kind of verbal dancing was most likely carefully crafted to get you to focus on the over half part about suppliers. The real story is in what it doesn’t say: what percentage of its total suppliers have signed the ESG pledge. If it was an impressive figure, GM would be trotting that out with pride. The fact is ESG is quickly gaining a bad reputation with those who have done some real research about what it actually entails and how it relates to The Great Reset, instead of just reading some slick press releases or praise-filled articles on the topic.

"There are economic and social imperatives in lowering emissions and addressing climate change while cultivating a just transition," said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.  "As we accelerate toward our vision of an all-electric future, our commitment to bringing everybody along includes our global suppliers whose collaboration is critical to promoting a sustainable, safe and better world."

GM detailed out three things it wants suppliers to agree to:

-   Achieving carbon neutrality for their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by dates based on their respective industry. These are 2025 or earlier for Professional Services, 2035 or earlier for Manufacturing and 2038 or earlier for Raw Materials and Logistics.

-   By 2025, achieving a minimum score of 50 in the EcoVadis Labor & Human Rights and Ethics pillars, which demonstrates a mature sustainability management system that covers employee health and safety, social dialogue, diversity/nondiscrimination, child and forced labor, and avoids corruption and anticompetitive practices.

-   By 2025, achieving a minimum score of 50 in the EcoVadis Sustainable Procurement pillar, which covers how GM's suppliers understand and govern the social and environmental practices of their own suppliers and use their purchasing influence to advance sustainability.

To help bring about this new world order – scratch that, improved environmental conditions – GM has tapped EcoVadis, a third-party assessor which specializes in this stuff. They evaluate just how well different companies are being good and obedient when it comes to putting into practice the preferred practices when it comes to sustainability, corporate responsibility, and social cohesion. Sure, all the language sounds pretty harmless on the surface, but if one thing has become in the recent past, some people use claims of trying to save everyone to coerce them into doing things they might feel squeamish about.

According to GM, this supplier pledge is a way “to bring ‘Everyone In’ for the all-electric future.” To make that happen, it seems the automaker needs to secure “a collaborative supply chain that endeavors to minimize environmental impact and enhance long-term sustainability.” Critics of the green movement and ESG have pointed out, this kind of language smacks of authoritarian control of essentially all resources.

What GM seems to be arguing is it needs everyone to be in line with its vision of the future of the planet, otherwise global warming will wreck everything. In other words, the corporation with vast resources at its disposal isn’t trying to crush smaller suppliers, but instead is benevolently trying to keep you and your family safe from the very fate Al Gore predicted would befall us shortly, even though that time has long passed.

Understandably, some are still upset about the government bailout GM received and never paid back. If they’re not a fan of ESG, seeing it as a tool of coercion instead of spreading good in the world, this is like adding insult to injury, or worse.

Photos: GM

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