GM Launches Industry-First, Voluntary Eco-Label on All Cars

When the 2012 Chevy Sonic goes on sale in early March, it will sport GM’s new eco-label, dubbed Ecologic.

This first eco-label in the auto industry will "demonstrate our commitment to reducing environmental impact throughout the 
stages of the vehicle’s life span, from manufacturing to driving to
recycling," says the website.

"Putting an Ecologic label on each Chevrolet is just one more way for us to share our environmental progress," the company says.

GM leads the auto industry in its use of renewable energy, and committed to doubling use of solar last year, so why not let people know about it?

Ecologic Label

The label supplements standard EPA window stickers, which have also been improved to include better information on fuel mileage and emissions. Ecologic will include information on the lifecycle impact of cars: how much energy and resources it
takes to produce a car, the pollution generated during production, and what happens to the car at end-of-life.

The label will appear on all Chevy vehicles later this year. All the claims will all be third-party audited by sustainability agency, Two Tomorrows, which provides those services for environmentally-oriented initiatives.

Expect to see details on:

  • Before the road: In addition to being LEED-certified, many factories are "landfill free," some use renewable energy, and all strive to reduce waste by re-using and recycling, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • On the road: Fuel-saving features such as advanced engine technologies, aerodynamics, lighter weight components     and low-rolling resistance tires.
  • After the road: 85% by weight of the vehicle can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.

Ecologic Label

This voluntary label is a great step in the right direction, and may well set a new standard for cars. It will be most useful when the information is compared to its peers, however. Most cars are highly recyclable, for example, so including the fact that the Sonic is 85% recyclable is "nice to know" but not necessarily unique.

GM is doing a lot of recycling, turning its goal to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill status worldwide into a lucrative sideline business. GM makes $1 billion a year selling scrap byproducts, derived from its impressive 92% recycling rate.

Chevy Volt buyers will love that some of the parts are made from recycled oil booms from the BP oil spill. The Volt’s baffles are made of 25% recycled boom material, 25% recycled tires, 25% recycled packaging material, and 25% post-consumer recycled plastics and polymers. The recycled tires and packaging
material are diverted from other GM facilities.

GM’s Spark Electric car debuts in 2013 and a plug-in Cadillac will hit the showrooms around the same time.

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