General Motors

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
Detroit, United States
Brands and Associated Companies
Cadillac, Opel, Vaxhaull, Chevrolet
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: General Motors (GM) is heavily engaged on US climate legislation with mixed engagement. The company communicates broad support for action on climate and has advocated for a number of broad overarching policies including the Climate Leadership Council’s carbon tax proposal and its own National ZEV programme. However, GM has a history of negative lobbying on regulation within the transport sector, particularly around US CAFE regulations. The company appeared to double down on it’s initial negative position by filing a legal brief to support the Trump Administration in its attempt to remove California’s Clean Air Act waiver. GM retains memberships to regressive trade associations, many of which have been key in opposing climate regulation in the US and EU.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: GM appears to support action to reduce GHG emissions but generally does not place these reductions within a time frame, writing in it’s 2018 Proxy Statement that “GM believes climate change is real and advocates for climate action” and that “aggressive action is required to complete the transition to low-carbon transportation.” The company frames much of it’s sustainability work around it’s “vision of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion.” The company has also signalled it’s support for climate regulation in a July 2020 press release to support this aim, with a focus on “policies that place a price on carbon.”

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: GM is a member of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) and has supported the CLC’s efforts to advocate for a carbon "tax and dividend" plan, although it should be noted that this plan also advocated for the replacement of other climate regulations where a tax is considered more cost effective. While GM states that it supports ‘modernized’ GHG and CAFE standards for vehicles in it’s 2019 Sustainability report, the company has a history of opposing ambitious standards in the US. GM was part of a group of companies who wrote a letter to President Donald Trump in June 2019 which advocated against the freezing of federal CAFE standards, although it also proposed standards weaker than those set under the Obama Administration. GM’s comments to the EPA in October 2018 indicate that the company supported a lower rate of CAFE improvement than under the Obama administration. While GM previously opposed California’s ability to set its own standards, repeatedly signalling it’s support for a national standard and entering into legal proceedings against California on the matter. In November 2020, GM withdrew from this legal action, and in June 2021 appeared to change position, announcing support for California's standards in a letter to the EPA.

Positioning on Energy Transition: A centrepiece of GM’s advocacy is its proposed a National Zero Emissions Vehicle (NZEV) program in the US. However, this proposal is, in fact, weaker than many existing measures to promote electric vehicles in the United States: GM’s plan would create a national sales requirement significantly weaker than already existing state standards through 2025, as well as providing extra credits which would further weaken these requirements. GM also suggests that it’s NZEV plan should replace EPA greenhouse gas standards, which would result in much higher emissions in the near term as due to the current low penetration of EVs in the US. Aside from it’s NZEV plan, the has also supported a number of other measures to encourage the uptake of EVs in the United States, including supporting tax credits for EVs, infrastructure investments and regulatory incentives to support battery uptake, all in 2020. However, in a December 2019 letter to the California Air Resources Board the company criticized the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Regulation, arguing that the regulation was ‘over optimistic.’

Industry Association Governance: GM discloses a list of memberships to industry associations where dues in excess of $25,000 were paid in its 2020 US Political Engagement Overview, as well as some additional memberships in its GRI Index on its corporate website and in its 2020 Sustainability Report. However, this is not a complete list and GM does not disclose its role or influence within each organization, nor does it disclose their climate policy positions and lobbying activities. In its 2021 Proxy Statement, GM committed to publish a lobbying report by the end of 2021. GM is a member of a number of regressive industry associations including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
1 0 NS NS 1 1 NS
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
1 2 NA 2 1 2 NS
Supporting the Need for Regulations
0 1 NS NS 1 1 NS
Support of UN Climate Process
0 1 NA 2 2 NS NS
Transparency on Legislation
-1 NA -1 NA NA NA NS
Carbon Tax
Emissions Trading
Energy and Resource Efficiency
0 -1 NS -1 -1 -1 NS
Renewable Energy
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 1 1 -1 0 1 -1
GHG Emission Regulation
0 1 NS -1 -1 0 NS
Disclosure on Relationships
-1 NS -2 NA NA NA NS
Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.