GM appoints first chief sustainability officer

DETROIT — General Motors has appointed its first chief sustainability officer, Dane Parker, to chart the automaker’s path toward a zero-emissions future.

Parker, whose current title is vice president of sustainable workplaces, expands his role to chief sustainability officer Feb. 1, GM said in a statement Thursday.

With Parker, 51, at the helm of GM’s sustainability efforts, GM slashed its manufacturing carbon intensity by 20 percent three years ahead of its goal. GM also became an EPA-recognized leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy utilization. The automaker won seven consecutive EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year awards, the statement said.

“Climate change is real. That is indisputable, and we take the challenges it presents seriously,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in the statement. “The transportation sector must be part of any credible climate change solution ,and Dane’s leadership, experience and passion will help us meet these challenges head-on. Our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion is ambitious and this appointment aligns our organization to accelerate achieving that vision.”

GM plans to bring 20 electric vehicles to market by 2023. Last year, GM said it would spend $3 billion to build electric trucks and battery modules at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant and announced a joint venture with Korean battery maker LG Chem to mass-produce batteries at a $2.3 billion battery-cell plant in northeast Ohio.

Parker’s team will ensure that materials are produced responsibly, lead GM as a global advocate for climate-sensitive manufacturing and mobility operations and direct the design and implementation infrastructure for EVs, the statement said.

“Our transition to electric vehicles is key, and we must continue to minimize our own operational footprint and lead changes toward a circular economy — where waste is eliminated and materials are reused and recycled,” Parker said in a LinkedIn Q&A with Barra. “Given our scale, anything we do in this area has a meaningful impact. The original ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ principles still apply to the industry and to us as individuals.”

Parker also will oversee global facility design, engineering, construction and operations, energy procurement and efficiency, environmental compliance, real estate and workplace strategy.

Parker joined GM in 2015 as executive director of global facilities. Before that, he worked for Dell Inc. and Intel Corp.

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