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GE’s Ecomagination & Corporate Social Responsibility

Now, more than ever consumers, investors and employees are placing increasing importance on corporate social responsibility and firms can take advantage of this by appealing directly to them.  Demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of employees has become an essential marketing strategy for companies in the global economy.

General Electric is one example of a company that is acting responsibly and living its values.  It is pursuing environmental sustainability by working to protect and improve people’s current and future living environment.

For over 6 years now, GE has been branding its green, environmental, and sustainability efforts as Ecomagination.  When it was first launched, the Ecomagination campaign asserted that GE, one of the world’s largest corporations, was going green and embracing environmentally-friendly policies.  According to CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the new Ecomagination initiative represented “GE’s commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water”.  

Does this sound too good to be true?  Well, initially, as you might imagine, people were skeptical of the program as it sounded like a gimmick.  How was GE going provide the world with solutions to our environmental problems?

I was skeptical as well.  However, in doing a lot of research online and reading numerous articles, I found that there is a substance behind GE’s Ecomagination campaign.

In fact, GE has been applauded by environmentalists for its substantial investments in alternative energy.  Even more, the Ecomagination line of more energy efficient and environmentally responsible products has enjoyed wide success.   

Given the company’s turbine expertise, it made sense for GE to quickly move into renewable energy, selling a turbine for hydroelectric power generation, as well as a range of fossil fuel power generation systems.  Furthermore, GE’s experience with power transmission made it one of the most aggressive corporate supporters of smart grid – see 2009 Super Bowl ad.

Regarding GE’s position in wind energy, in 2002, the company spent $358 million to buy the wind energy assets of the bankrupt Enron Corporation.  Now, GE’s wind business is the market leader in the US.

GE also entered the Solar Photovoltaic industry by purchasing the bankrupt AstroPower in 2004.  More recently, the company has invested in various thin film processes.

GE’s Ecomagination environmental sustainability campaign has succeeded and will likely continue to succeed by engaging in socially and environmentally responsible actions that meet consumers current and future needs.



2 thoughts on “GE’s Ecomagination & Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. First of all I think those wind mills that companies like GE produce are truly remarkable and revolutionary. While I believe GE is exempt from scrutiny as Lauren has just displayed, I believe many companies engage in these socially and environmentally responsible actions as a form of “window dressing”. In an era that has been overtaken by the realms of “going green”, it seems that every company has some aspect in which they conduct business that has gone green. But what exactly does that mean? We did a brief case study on companies that engage in this in marketing (Lauren I believe you were in it) and to be brief, its a complete fabrication a lot of times. It seems that companies are engaging in these activities for the wrong reasons; or right depending on your viewpoint. Unfortunately, the businesses of our decade have been completely engrossed by this window dressing phenomenon.

    Posted by Patrick | February 13, 2012, 4:00 pm
  2. Lauren, I am also a little skeptical of GE’s Ecomagination. I took marketing as well last semester and I remember discussing the seven sins of “going green” that most companies commit. I also remember discussing how most companies that say they are green are in reality not green at all. Going green seems like a great marketing strategy for companies to jump on to since society claims to be more concerned about the environment and competition is adapting these strategies. I feel as though it may be too hard to determine if GE is really green or if they are just committing one of the seven sins.

    Posted by Amanda Skonezney | February 14, 2012, 9:48 pm

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