Sustainability

GM's Spring Hill plant will be run on solar power by 2022

General Motors workers on the line Thursday, December 8, 2016 at the General Motors Spring Hill Manufacturing plant.

Photo by Sanford Myers for General Motors

The Spring Hill Manufacturing plant started as the home of the Saturn Corporation. Now, it's turning to the sun. General Motors has announced that the Tennessee facility will be able to run on purely solar power by late 2022 thanks to a tariff agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The TVA Green Invest program is designed to help companies reach sustainability goals by partnering with local power companies to build large-scale renewable energy installations in the Tennessee Valley, which overs most of southwest and eastern Tennessee.

General Motors Tennessee Valley Authority Photo courtesy of General Motors

As part of the agreement, TVA will supply up to 100 megawatts of solar energy per year, the equivalent of the amount of energy used by 18,000 U.S. households annually. GM's energy will come from a solar farm in Lowndes County, Mississippi that is currently under development by Origis Energy.

The plant is the largest manufacturing facility GM has in North America, totaling 2,100 acres. One-third of the acreage is dedicated to farming and 100 acres is dedicated to wildlife habitat. The wildlife area has received Gold recognition and certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

GM has committed to sourcing 100 percent of electricity from renewables in the U.S. by 2030 at GM-owned sites. This latest agreement movies the current total to around 50 percent.

General Motors isn't the only company committed to sustainable assembly plants. FCA recently released a report detailing its efforts. Toyota is building a hydrogen-powered city and Volkswagen is funding a purchase of land near its Chattanooga plant for conservation.

Currently, the Spring Hill plant builds the GMC Acadia and the Cadillac XT5 and XT6, as well as several engines for a variety of vehicles.

General Motors has invested $2 billion in the plant in the last decade.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Toyota Mall of Georgia, one of AutoNation's dealerships, has raised money to support the caregivers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of AutoNation

You know the pink license plate brackets and the pink-leather jacket clad spokeswoman. All that pink is paying off. AutoNation announced that it has raised $25 million for cancer research and treatment through its Drive Pink (DRV PNK) Initiative. Drive Pink launched in 2015.

In 2020 alone, DRV PNK funds have been invested in seven major research projects through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BRCF focuses their efforts in six different areas: tumor biology, treatment, survivorship, metastasis, lifestyle and prevention, and heredity and ethnicity.

"AutoNation has played a valuable role in enabling BCRF to be at the vanguard of every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship," said Mrya Biblowit, BCRF President and CEO.

"Every October, we celebrate all that we have accomplished through DRV PNK" said Mike Jackson, AutoNation's Chairman and CEO. "This year, we've taken our mission to new levels, thanks to the incredible support of our Customers, our Associates and our partners."

As part of its DRV PNK efforts, AutoNation works to raise awareness of breast cancer. The company sponsored NTT Indycar Series drivers Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti who were behind the wheel of vehicles wearing pink liveries.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and AutoNation will be stepping up its efforts throughout the month. Expect to see ad campaigns reflecting such. The company's annual DRV PNK Across America Day by selecting local cancer treatment facilities to receive care bags for patients battling cancer.

For longtime AutoNation Associate and breast cancer survivor, Lisa Logan, DRV PNK is personal. "Sadly, just about everyone has been touched by cancer. I am so proud to work for a company that not only supported me throughout my journey, but that also supports such an important cause."

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The material Jaguar Land Rover is adding to its vehicle interiors is called Econyl.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

As automaker work toward more sustainable business practices, Jaguar Land Rover is working with Econyl nylon to develop high-quality interiors made from ocean and landfill waste. The automaker promises that next-generation Jaguar and Land Rover models will feature floor mats and trims made with Econyl fiber from recycled industrial plastic, fabric offcuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as 'ghost nets'.

Econyl nylon was created by Aquafil. It's already been sued in the high-end fashion, sportswear, and luxury watch industries to create handbags, backpacks, swimwear, and watch straps. In one year, the company recycles as much as 40,000 tons of waste, making it in to the nylon. For every 10,000 tonnes of Econyl raw material produced, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tons of carbon emissions equivalent are avoided.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Jaguar Land Rover has committed to including more sustainable materials in its interiors.Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Turning to sustainable materials isn't a new idea. For years Ford has been incorporating all manner of materials into its vehicles including tomatoes, soy, and coffee chaff from McDonald's. General Motors recently showcased a breakdown of how recycled materials are used inside their automobiles.

Bentley's facility in Crewe, England is collecting rainwater for use in its office building allowing the company to not have to draw from the local water system.

Each year automakers release their sustainability report, which champions all the ways that the company is moving forward in its resources conservation plans. This year's GM report sets forth numerous goals. Among them, by 2030, 50 percent of the parts used in General Motors vehicles will be made with sustainable materials. Additionally, GM's Spring Hill plant in Tennessee will run solely on solar power by 2022.

FCA made big strides in 2019. Their 2020 sustainability report touted their 40 percent reduction in water use and 27 percent carbon footprint reduction per vehicle.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

This week Polestar announced that its Precept concept vehicle is headed into production. When the Precept debuted a few months ago, the company bragged about its sustainable interior.

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