BACKGROUND: In 2010, General Motors’ brand, Chevrolet, made one of the largest voluntary commitments to greenhouse gas reductions in U.S. history. As part of this commitment, Chevrolet is investing in local, community-based carbon-reducing projects across America with a goal of reducing up to eight million tons of CO2 emissions throughout America. Chevrolet estimates the carbon reduction goal equates to the emissions released in 2011 from driving the 1.9 million new Chevrolet vehicles sold and driven in the U.S. between November 18, 2010 and December 31, 2011.
PARTNER NEED: Transacting for certified carbon reductions is not core to General Motor’s business, and the size of this investment dwarfs typical transactions conducted within the U.S. voluntary carbon market. In order to manage such a large portfolio of projects and to conduct the due diligence necessary to attract the very best projects, General Motors sought an experienced and credible organization to act as its “buyer’s agent.”
SOLUTION: BEF’s expertise in environmental commodities—including procurement, sales, and project development across a wide spectrum—made us an ideal candidate to perform this unique service to Chevrolet. In 2010, BEF was retained by GM to serve as their Carbon Supply Buyer’s Agent and portfolio manager. Since the start of the Chevrolet Carbon Reduction Initiative, BEF has worked to develop a world-class portfolio of projects providing certified carbon reductions along with meaningful environmental benefits.
“The Chevy Carbon Reduction Initiative is really about taking our environmental progress on the vehicle side, and on the plant side a step further and proving our commitment in new and innovative ways that have direct impacts on communities across the country,” said David Tulauskas in an article to Triple Pundit. “For every single project we decide to invest in, we not only look at carbon reductions, but also the impact that they’re having on a community, and the technology that we may be supporting or incentivizing. This is something that if IdleAir or any other company could equip truck stops across the nation with to help them avoid idling, we would displace a lot of fuel and avoid a lot of carbon emissions.”
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OUTCOMES: Within the first two years of our engagement with GM, BEF developed and secured project agreements representing approximately 90% of Chevrolet’s five-year carbon reduction goal. The portfolio includes: forestry, wind energy, biomass fuel-switch, landfill methane capture and use, pipeline heat recovery, prairieland conservation, truckstop electrification, naturally occurring coal bed methane capture, and a first-of-its-kind energy efficiency, low-income housing weatherization project.
INNOVATION: For the final 10% of the portfolio, Chevy has asked that BEF concentrate on developing new opportunities in carbon markets to support energy efficiency and renewable energy for higher education institutions. Very little opportunity currently exists within this sector to generate certified carbon reductions from efficiency or renewables. Therefore, BEF teamed up with Chevrolet’s environmental advisors and a group of sector experts to pioneer new carbon methodologies that colleges and universities may utilize in the future to generate carbon credits for the market and to further on-campus energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities.
In partnership with Chevrolet, our goals in this final phase are twofold: first, to develop methodologies that allow Chevy to transact with these institutions for certified carbon credits to meet Chevrolet’s carbon reduction goals. Second, to provide a legacy pathway that makes it possible for other corporations to support energy efficiency and renewables in schools and higher education institutions through the purchase of certified carbon offsets.
—David J. Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability, General Motors Company