It’s not just the cars: GM cutting its carbon footprint across the board

The UN summit meeting last month, and the massive demonstration that preceded it, brought a lot of attention to the issue of climate change and what we can do about it.

We all know that electric vehicles cause a lot less carbon pollution than gasoline-powered vehicles, and if we can convince our utility companies to generate more power from renewable sources, they’ll cut it even more.

But there’s more that automakers can do about climate change, so we were delighted to see this guest editorial in the Detroit News last month by Pamela Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles.

(This video gives some very interesting background on Fletcher and her views on the industry.)

GM sees an economic opportunity in addressing climate change, Fletcher wrote.

“There is real business value in delivering customers vehicles that are fun to drive and save them money,” she wrote. In addition, though, “we know people care about more than the cars. They care how we build them, and how we engage with the world around us. This is changing our approach to product design, manufacturing, safety, quality, the environment, customer care and a host of other areas at a remarkable pace.”

Fletcher emphasized the role that the Motor City can play in this global challenge.

“Detroit is a community of innovators who are used to rolling up our sleeves and turning adversity into opportunity,” she wrote. “By thinking long term and keeping customers at the heart of all of our actions, we can strengthen our business, maintain our competitive edge and transform transportation.”

It sounds like a case where what’s good for General Motors is not only good for the country, but also good for the planet.