AIAG Members General Motors and Caterpillar Receive National Awards for Environmental Excellence

by Greg Creason | Feb 12, 2015

Environmental Leader
magazine has honored AIAG members General Motors and Caterpillar with recognition in its 2014 Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards. Environmental Leader — a leading daily trade publication for corporate executives that covers energy, environmental, and sustainability news — sponsors the awards program to recognize excellence in products and projects that improve environmental and energy performance.

“We are excited to see out members publicly recognized for their advancements in sustainability,” says Tanya H. Bolden, AIAG corporate responsibility program development manager. “GM and Caterpillar are both leaders in environmental stewardship, and these awards underscore their commitment to their employees, customers, and communities in which they operate.”

The 2014 Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards judging panel included 19 senior sustainability executives from companies like Microsoft, Citigroup, Sam’s Club, Owens Corning, Anheuser Busch, and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.

Caterpillar’s Cat 336E Hybrid Excavator received the Top Product of the Year award. The Cat 336E hydraulic hybrid excavator not only helps customers dramatically reduce operating costs but also their carbon footprint, achieving fuel economy and efficiency without a decrease in power or productivity. The Cat 336E hydraulic hybrid uses 25 percent less fuel than the standard 336E machine doing the same work, which equals about 66 tons less CO2. In addition, the 336E hydraulic hybrid is more than 98 percent recyclable.

To develop the 336E H Hybrid, the company interviewed more than 300 people from around the world to discuss their fuel consumption and environmental challenges. This input led to development of the excavator, a system with more than 300 patents filed.

General Motors won Top Project of the Year for its initiative on “Driving a Global Movement for Zero Waste.” GM’s philosophy is to think of waste as “a resource out of place.” The initiative focuses on turning waste streams into revenue streams and helping other companies do the same. GM now recycles 90 percent of its global manufacturing waste.

In 2012, GM generated an estimated $1 billion in reuse and recycling revenue annually from its by-products and eliminated 11 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. GM has 108 landfill-free facilities around the world and has committed to increase its landfill-free facilities to 125 by 2020.

A large part of the strategy for moving toward zero waste is GM sharing its strategies with its supply chain. GM has provided other companies with a blueprint on how to take advantage of environmental, economic, and social opportunities. This mentoring of other companies serves to boost recycling infrastructures and grow greener businesses. In GM’s blueprint, the steps toward zero waste include:

  • Tracking waste data
  • Defining zero waste
  • Prioritizing waste-reduction activities
  • Engaging employees in a sustainability culture
  • Strengthening supplier partnerships
  • Resolving regulatory challenges
  • Achieving landfill-free
  • Sharing best practices

All GM plants report their performance monthly, which helps to identify the opportunities and demonstrate accountability.

Because AIAG understands the range of corporate responsibility issues affecting automotive and related industries, it can help members stay on top of changing conditions and expectations. AIAG supports sustainable business practices throughout the automotive industry and its complex supply chain, serving as a resource for domestic and international corporate responsibility issues.

Particularly popular are AIAG’s special events that serve this space, such as its annual Corporate Responsibility Summit (scheduled for April 29-30, 2015) and its IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference (scheduled for October 13-14, 2015), as well as regular corporate briefings on conflict minerals reporting and other pressing topics.

In light of the complexity of corporate responsibility issues, AIAG brings members together to work collaboratively on improving global working conditions, environmental sustainability, and increasing transparency in the global supply chain. Coming out of these collaborations, projects, and workgroups are innovative solutions and tools that enhance environmental stewardship and efficiency. Using its unique position at the nexus of multiple industries and companies, AIAG develops insights, trainings, conferences, and tools that members need to operate responsibly and profitably.

For more information on getting involved in AIAG’s activities in corporate responsibility or exploring related training and tools, visit