Re-energizing the Renewable Energy Debate

Re-energizing the Renewable Energy Debate

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 10:40am


What is the future of energy?

Is it solar? Wind? Landfill gas? A combination of all three?

What can companies and other influencers do to promote the use of renewable energy?

These were just some of the topics discussed during the recent Energy Thought Summit  held in Austin, Tex. The conference brings together some of the world’s thought leaders for two days to debate the state and future of energy.

Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy, was among the speakers on the summit’s renewable energy panel. Rob shared his insight and progress in expanding our clean energy portfolio.

In fact, we’re already about halfway to meeting our goal to use 125 megawatts of renewable energy to power our facilities.

Threlkeld also shared some best practices GM has learned along the way. One takeaway: communicating efforts – internally and externally – is crucial.

“I think education is a key part,” Threlkeld said.  “The way we really look at, when we do a project at one of our facilities, if it has 5,000 employees, you’re educating 5,000 employees who are then going out and educating an entire community about the importance of renewable energy.”

Educating external stakeholders is equally important. In fact, the NGO Ceres recognized GM as one of only 13 corporations that report renewable energy metrics in their corporate responsibility report. We also ranked among the top 10 percentof companies in last year’s Global 500 Climate Change Report, which analyzes companies’ disclosure of information related to climate change.

The Energy Thought Summit isn’t the only forum where Threlkeld shares his renewable expertise. He’s also frequently asked to participate in industry Twitter chats like #SolarChat, sharing his insight with the digital masses.

Transparency is an essential part of being a good corporate citizen. Similarly, sharing best practices is an essential part of being a good corporate leader. True thought leadership is the ability to look beyond the benefits an idea or initiative will have to your company, and look to the benefits it will have on the whole industry and society.

By putting our experts in the right places, we’re helping to advance the discussion and move us along the path to a more sustainable future.