97 GM Facilities Connect with Nature for World Environment Day

Jul 20, 2017 2:35 PM ET
Nearly 100 General Motors facilities participated in World Environment Day, an observation established by the United Nations.


Nearly 100 General Motors facilities participated in World Environment Day, an observation established by the United Nations. This year’s theme:  “connect people to nature.”

While all of GM’s manufacturing sites conduct at least one environmental outreach activity a year, this is the second time GM rallied its teams to measure its collective impact within roughly the same period.  

GM’s participation included 12,000 employees from 26 countries; an increase in engagement of 54 percent over last year. From building playgrounds with manufacturing byproducts to planting 19,758 trees, here is how GM employees around the world championed sustainability at their sites.


  • Volunteers from Struandale in South Africa replaced ivy with grass and rocks. They learned about the invasive plant and how it interacts with other species.
  • Employees from the South Africa Parts Distribution Center planted 53 trees and a garden with students at Walmer Primary School.


  • Villagers and local officials joined employees from Thailand Vehicle Manufacturing and Powertrain to bike 7.5 miles from the government office to a reservoir to plant 100 pink trumpet trees.
  • Employees from the vehicle assembly plant in Hanoi, Vietnam built a playground for children in the Giao Thien Commune using recycled materials.
  • The Tashkent Powertrain facility in Uzbekistan developed a greenhouse using site waste.
  • GM China President Matt Tsien joined 100 employees to plant trees, install birdhouses and release turtles at the GM China headquarters. They labeled plants and trees with QR codes for employees to learn about each species.
  • Talegaon Complex employees hosted an environmental fair where families planted 100 mango trees and 50 other indigenous trees at public petrol pumps and restaurants. The event also offered free vehicle emission testing to ensure vehicles met pollution mandates.
  • The India Technical Center in Bangalore led a lake cleanup with 120 participants, improving conditions at Chinnappanahalli Lake.


  • Employees from Holden Proving Ground conducted a land survey to identify native trees infected with a fungus and shared findings with a local NGO who will use the data to control the issue in other areas. The Holden trees provide seedlings for regeneration efforts.


  • GM’s Opel manufacturing plant in Gliwice, Poland organized a picnic in Silesian Botanic Garden for employees and families, and hosted environmental workshops, including a stream sampling to identify organisms living in the water.
  • All sites in the Opel Vauxhall region printed environmental posters created by the U.N. and added information about how their facilities contribute to sustainability goals. The efforts helped increase employees’ environmental awareness.

North America

  • Brownstown Battery Assembly employees in Michigan taught special needs students at Lincoln Center about caring for wildlife. Students fished rubber ducks covered in oil from a pool and used dish soap to remove it to learn how pollution affects wildlife.
  • At the St. Catharines plant in Canada, employees and students planted more than 1,000 native pollinator plants and 2,300 trees in partnership with Forests Ontario and Land Care Niagara.
  • Ramos Arizpe Complex employees in Mexico learned to compost, made turtles out of reused plant materials, and drew their commitments to the environment. Employees and their families reforested 150 trees along the way to Zapaliname Mountain.
  • Silao Complex in Mexico partnered with a local zoo that brought animals to the plant so employees and families could better understand their role in protecting local wildlife. The facility also hosted University of Guanajuato students for a tour of water treatment operations.

South America

  • Employees at the Sao Caetano do Sul Complex in Brazil turned their break area into a lush forest, encouraging environmental conversations around the water cooler; used virtual reality to expose people to forests, rivers and waterfalls; offered environmental lectures; and created a photo booth for employees to take funny photos simulating “hugging a tree.”