CAMPAIGN: GM Energy Efficiency
By Guy O. Williams, president & CEO, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
We all know that Detroit already has a lot on its plate—from poverty and unemployment to abandonment and crime. I am convinced, however, that things are turning around.
As we put the pieces back together, we need to make sure that the city is not blindsided by the ever-worsening vagaries of climate change. I believe Detroit has the capacity to be a global leader in reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of our lives for two reasons:
- The diversity of voices in the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative (DCAC), formed in 2011 by Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, working toward countering the effects of climate change
- Companies engaging in localized conversations about how to respond to and slow climate change, helping us think about how to prepare for these changes and how to mitigate the impact on our environment and quality of life.
For four years, DCAC’s six work groups—with members from academia, government, nonprofit, community, and business sectors—have been working toward Detroit’s first climate action plan. After months of citywide community conversations, we’ll soon be releasing our findings and recommendations. General Motors and other Detroit area companies have been dedicated partners in the business and institution work group throughout the process.
Businesses have a stake in climate change mitigation and have many insights to offer. GM has been a Climate Declaration signatory since 2013 and recently became one of the first companies that signed the White House American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Only through leadership from our largest companies and energy users can we ultimately achieve success and turn around climate change impacts. This summer, more than 100 leaders came together for a Business & Institution Sustainability Summit to discuss how Detroit as a city can increase its resilience. We brainstormed, we offered our unique perspectives and began shaping our plans to create a more resilient future for the city.
The steps we take from here will create good jobs, improve our air and health, and bring financial savings. Our climate action plan is part of Detroit’s comeback story.
Every step of this process has confirmed what I have always believed: Everyone counts—on every level. Every voice in the room, every voice at these community meetings, matters. Regardless of the city you live in, it’s collaboration that will move us forward.
Interested in learning more about how Detroit is realizing the business and lifestyle opportunities in addressing climate change? Visit detroitclimateaction.org.