GM names chief sustainability officer to lead zero-emissions efforts

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. has named Dane Parker its chief sustainability officer, a newly created position intended to accelerate the company's plans to meet its zero-emissions goals.

Parker's new position, effective Feb. 1, expands his current role as vice president of sustainable workplaces and makes him the leader of the company's sustainability strategy, including electric vehicles, the automaker said Thursday

Dane Parker is GM's new chief sustainability officer, a newly created position intended to accelerate company’s plans for a zero-emissions future.

The new position comes as GM prepares to convert the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant for electric vehicle production. The company also is purchasing property for a new battery-cell manufacturing plant in Ohio as it prepares to roll out 20 new all-electric models by 2023.

"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 GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. "Given our scale, anything we do in this area has a meaningful impact."

Parker’s global responsibilities also include facility design, construction and operations; energy procurement and efficiency; and environmental compliance.

Under his leadership, GM has reduced its manufacturing carbon intensity by 20%, three years ahead of its goal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized GM as a leader in energy efficiency with seven consecutive EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year awards.

Production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant will cease at the end of February and the plant will be converted for production of electric vehicles. It's been previously reported that an electric Hummer, GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade will be built there. The Hummer is supposed to be the first of the vehicle lineup to come out of the plant in late 2021. GM has not officially confirmed what vehicles will be built at the plant.

GM has said it will invest $3 billion to prepare the plant for electric-vehicle production. The investment comes with 2,225 jobs.

Meanwhile, the automaker is investing $2.3 billion in Ohio with LG Chem Michigan Inc. in a joint venture currently known as GigaPower LLC for a new battery-cell plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The automaker was one of the top employers there for decades with its former Lordstown Assembly plant that GM sold to an electric-vehicle startup company.

GM has entered into a purchase agreement for the Lordstown property and has applied for permits from the U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to build the plant on a 158-acre site. The battery-cell plant will bring 1,100 new jobs to northeast Ohio.

Parker has been with GM since July 2015. Before that he was vice president of global real estate, facilities and environment, health and safety for Dell Inc. and spent more than 13 years at Intel Corp. in technology and manufacturing organization.

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