It's been said the only people who can change the world are those who want to. Well, we want to. That's why we are exploring
more fuel-efficient options and technologies with our vehicles. But we want to do more.
Over the next few years, we’ll be investing up to 40 million dollars in projects that will help reduce up to 8 million metric tons† of carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere. That's like planting a forest the size of Yellowstone†.
We’ve chosen projects we believe will make a lasting difference in communities across the country. Progress is already
underway, and we estimate it will take up to five years to achieve our initial goal. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but every
project is a step in the right direction.
As carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, we’ll record our progress using the monitor below. Check back frequently
to see how much CO2 the initiative will reduce.
* Committed tons are estimated totals.
You can start by calculating your total carbon footprint with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the nonprofit partner
helping with our investments. Once you add up your footprint, it's easy to find ways to start reducing it.
We are using “carbon” as shorthand for greenhouse gases. They are measured in CO2 equivalents.
We’re investing in greenhouse gas-reducing projects in local communities here in America, like wind farms and solar and energy efficiency. We will reduce up to eight million metric tons of carbon dioxide through a variety of projects over the next few years.
In simple terms, we feel it’s the right thing to do. This program is an additional way to make a positive impact on the environment. We wanted to do more, today.
Here in America. In the cities and towns where we live. In addition to planting trees and investing in renewable energy projects, we are also planning to help communities and schools become more energy efficient. While our projects are still in the planning stage, the goal is to have an impact on a local level.
It will occur over the next few years. While it is difficult to say with certainty due to the size of the investment, we expect the benefit to be realized within a five-year period. We are ready to begin making investments now.
Our investments will be focused in three areas: energy efficiency (such as weatherization and building retrofits), renewable energy (such as solar and wind) and planting trees, and will be based right here in America.
We will estimate the carbon dioxide emissions that come from the vehicles we will sell between 11/18/2010 and 12/31/2011 as they are driven through the end of 2011 (we estimate sales of 1.9 million cars and trucks). Our calculation uses EPA estimates for combined fuel economy (fueleconomy.gov) and for the CO2 emissions that come from a gallon of gasoline. We also assumed that an average vehicles drives about 1,250 miles per month, or 15,000 miles in a year. If a vehicle is sold in January 2011, we will account for 15,000 miles, and if a vehicle is sold in December 2011, we will account for 1,250 miles. All told, we estimate this will add up to about 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
It’s a start. We know a lot more needs to be done, but we feel that investing in these projects is a positive step for our environment and for local communities. Whether it’s inspiring a driver to be more environmentally conscious or investing in a project that could create new jobs, we feel this program will make a positive contribution.
If you want to invest in carbon-reducing projects independently, there are a variety of companies that can help. Our partner is the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. If you’d like, click here to link directly to their site to learn how you can participate.
We are making our investments through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon. We will invest in projects that deliver third-party certified carbon dioxide reduction benefits.
To give you an idea how much 8 million metric tons is, according to epa.gov, it equals the CO2 emissions of one year of electricity use in 970,874 homes. Or like the annual carbon dioxide reduction from 1.7 million acres of pine forest. It’s a start. There’s a lot more that needs to be done.
Energy production is the largest large contributor, like coal-fired power plants. Transportation is also a significant factor. We want to help lead the world’s automakers in reducing CO2 emissions. Vehicles like Cruze Eco, our hybrid-powered Chevy Silverado pickup and plug-in Chevy Volt are steps in the right direction. So is investing in carbon-reducing projects.
We’re doing that too. And if you look at the improvements we’ve made over the past 10 years, we think you’ll agree. Are we there yet? No. And this effort doesn’t mean we’re going to slow down, either. We have lots of fuel-efficient vehicles, like the Chevy Cruze Eco (EPA-est. 42 MPG hwy) and Chevy Equinox (EPA-est. 32 MPG hwy). And then there’s the plug-in Chevrolet Volt, an electric-powered vehicle with a gas-powered range extender that can give you the best of both worlds. We’re also a leader in fuel cell technology, with test fleets in cities around the world. These initiatives show exactly where we’re headed.
We’re doing many things beyond making our cars more fuel efficient. Our Chevy Traverse is assembled in one of the country’s only LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) assembly plants. Several GM facilities have achieved landfill-free status, and many use renewable energy. We have two of the largest rooftop solar installations in the United States atop our parts warehouses in California. GM is also a member of the Wildlife Habitat Council, helping designate more than 870 acres in North America as habitat enhancement and restoration projects to provide food, water and homes for wildlife.
Chevrolet is only investing in projects that will be certified by third-party organizations, such as those recognized by the Climate Action Reserve, Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard. These companies audit, verify and certify the carbon reductions. They establish that investments and their carbon dioxide reduction benefits are beyond “business as usual.” All our projects will be based in communities across America, so we can hold the project partners accountable.
We estimate it’s going to cost about $40 million.
Of course we are interested in selling cars, but we don’t expect this effort to prompt a short-term sales increase. Frankly, this isn’t the type of “incentive” that causes a rush in sales. This is really about making a positive statement to our customers. And letting them know that we are committed to doing the right thing.
If you don’t pay attention to your own energy efficiency, then you might call it greenwashing. But that’s not what we’re about here at Chevy. Since 1990, manufacturing and assembly plants where Chevy products are built have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 60%. And as of today, almost 50% of GM plants — many of which build Chevrolet vehicles—are landfill-free. We understand that we share this planet. We have been investing for years in our own facilities and vehicles to make them more energy efficient. Now, we want to reach out to the local communities and make them more energy efficient. Now, we want to reach out to the local communities and make a bit of a difference there, too. We want to do more. We want to do our part.
No. This is a Chevrolet initiative. The government had absolutely no role in this. This program is unrelated to regulatory requirements concerning fuel economy standards or climate change legislation. Chevrolet is making this commitment voluntarily.
A $40 million investment in anything is substantial. We’ll assess the benefits and evaluate next steps. We’ll also evaluate other environmental initiatives to see if there’s another way to help.
GM is profitable again and funding for this initiative comes from existing advertising budgets.
When a carbon-reducing project is developed (like a wind or solar project), third parties verify the amount of carbon that was reduced by the project (usually measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide). This verification also makes sure that project investments will make a difference. Credits equivalent to each metric ton are then created and sold on an open market. Organizations and individuals buy these credits, called carbon offsets. You can find a more in-depth definition at howstuffworks.com.
A carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon is generated to support the everyday activities of a company (or person). If you use lights, air conditioning, heat, ride a bus, travel by train, drive a car, use a stove, buy clothes, use a cell phone, own a pet, watch TV, or do just about anything else in the civilized world, you have a carbon footprint. It’s typically measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere annually.
That’s ok. Chevrolet is not increasing the price of its vehicles to pay for this program. To pay for the effort, we are spending $40 million less on consumer advertising. And we’re not asking our customers to espouse any particular views on the environment. Chevrolet has determined that there are many worthwhile energy projects to support, and has decided to make this commitment to help make a positive impact.
There are a number of other companies involved in carbon-reducing projects, but nothing like this on this scale. And frankly, this is not about being first or best. It’s about doing what’s right. We applaud every company that has stepped up and gone the extra mile. The more, the better.
* The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.
**The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Destination freight charge is $810 for Spark EV.
To allow you to do an accurate price comparison with prices featured on other Internet sites, GM provides Internet pricing both with and without the Destination Freight Charge (see prices including Destination Freight Charge below). To get full pricing details, go to our Build Your Own section.