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VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 2

									GE

OVERVIEW

The General Electric Company, or GE, is a multinational company headquartered in
Fairfield, Connecticut. It was formed in 1892 after the merger of two companies:
Thomson-Houston Electric Company and the Edison General Electric Company, which
was owned by the American inventor, scientist, and businessman Thomas Edison.1 Today
GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 300,000 people worldwide.2
It currently has four main divisions: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance,
and Consumer and Industrial.3

With its wide range of divisions and operations, GE faces a number of corporate
sustainability and responsibility issues. GE has been seen to make some impressive
changes recent years, including investing in renewable energy and launching a wide
range of greener products.

DOING GOOD AND DOING WELL

Ecomagination

Ecomagination is an initiative launched in 2005 in an attempt to improve the green
credentials of GE.4 It aims to produce innovative solutions to today’s environmental
problems while promoting economic growth.5 It has pursued cleaner sources of energy,
emissions reductions, and water efficiency.6

GE has introduced a number of products in the Ecomagination portfolio. In order to
qualify, the products must improve environmental performance, customer satisfaction
and investor value.7 In 2010, GE has made impressive investment of $1.8 billion dollars
in to Ecomagination products and by 2015 will have invested $10 billion.

Renewable Electricity

GE has invested heavily in the renewable electricity market in recent years. Since
entering the market in 2002, GE has invested $850 million into renewable energy.8 It
concentrates its investment in wind power, solar photovoltaics, and natural gas turbines.
This investment has returned some impressive results, in 2010 GE set a world record for

1
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric#Environmental_record
2
   http://www.ge.com/
3
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric
4
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric#Recent_controversies
5
   http://www.ecomagination.com/about
6
   http://www.ecomagination.com/progress/overview/
7
   http://www.ecomagination.com/progress/overview/
8
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric#Recent_controversies
the amount of solar energy converted into electrical energy for one cell.9 GE is also
providing technology for what will be the worlds largest on shore wind farm when it is
completed in 2012. Shepherds Flat wind farm will cover 30 square miles and will
produce enough electricity to power 235,000 homes.10

EHS academy

GE, along with several other multinational corporations, has set up the Environment,
Health and Safety (EHS) academy in China.11 This agency aims up to improve working
standards in factories that produce GE products by training qualified EHS managers to
serve factories throughout China. This will mean that these factories comply with
Chinese and international standards on safety. EHS managers will also receive training
on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting the local
environment.12

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Hudson River Clean Up

During the mid 1900s, GE lawfully dumped up to 1.3 million pounds of PolyChlorinated
Biphenyls (PCBs) in to the Hudson River. After a lengthy court battle it was decided that
GE should be held responsible for the clean up of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson
River.13 PCBs are dangerous to human health and have been shown to cause skin
conditions, irregular menstrual cycles and lowered immune response.14 PCBs have also
been shown to cause certain cancers.15 Although held responsible, GE has been accused
of stalling due to the large costs associated with the clean up.16 The company argued that
the clean up process would actually cause more damage to the river because it would stir
up PCBs on the riverbed.17 After years, phase one of the clean up finally started in 2009
and it is expected to take up to 8 years to complete.18




9
 http://www.ecomagination.com/progress/innovation/renewables/thin-film-solar-panels/
10
   http://www.ecomagination.com/progress/innovation/renewables/caithness/
11
   http://sustainablebusinessforum.com/davemeyer01/50130/taming-tiger-ge-manages-
china-supply-chain-sustainability-issues-education-collabo
12
   http://www.iscvt.org/where_we_work/china/article/ehs_academy.php
13
   http://www.epa.gov/hudson/
14
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_biphenyl#Health_effects
15
   http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9611124/ns/us_news-environment/t/new-deal-hudson-
river-pcb-cleanup/
16
   http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/hhudson.asp
17
   http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/hhudson.asp
18
   http://www.epa.gov/hudson/

								
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