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?
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.