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Great Recession Doesn't Slow the Greening of GE

<p>The company's sixth annual corporate citizenship report shows that, despite a 14 percent drop in revenue due to the Great Recession, GE has cut its water, energy and emissions intensity by more than 30 percent each.</p>

Ecomagination continues to pay big dividends for General Electric, according to its just-released sustainability report.

After investing $5 billion in ecomagination products since 2005 -- and growing the portfolio from 17 products to 90 -- GE earned $18 billion in revenue on ecomagination products in 2009. Ecomagination revenue accounted for 28 percent of the company's product revenue, and its success has led the company to greatly increase its investment in the coming years, putting an additional $10 billion in R&D investments in ecomagination by 2015.

With its sixth annual report, entitled "Renewing Responsibilities," GE set a goal of growing ecomagination revenues twice as fast as the company itself grows.

Of course, in the wake of the Great Recession, the company isn't necessarily growing that fast -- revenues in 2009 declined by 14 percent -- but ecomagination revenues were up 6 percent in 2009.

Despite the economic hit GE has taken, the companies overarching environmental initiatives are having an even larger impact on its footprint: Its overall intensities in water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are down more than 30 percent each, with emissions intensity down 39 percent and overall emissions down 22 percent.

GE continues to set ambitious environmental goals on its intensities -- the amount of resources used per million dollars of revenue -- including a goal of 50 percent reductions in energy intensity from its 2004 baseline, a 25 percent reduction in emissions over a 2004 baseline, and a 30 percent reduction in water intensity over a 2006 baseline.

The full report is available online and in downloadable format from

Building photo CC-licensed by Wonderlane.

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