You may have seen the new General Electric slightly-too-cute
‘Ecomagination’ ads (elephant impersonating Gene Kelly’s great
in the Rain dance number). It turns out there’s a real story
behond the story.
Friend & colleague Joel Makower (who had a
hand in the GE strategy)
some of that story at WorldChanging
this weekend. After describing the initiative — which includes
‘doubling its… annual revenues from ecomagination products and
services to at least $20 billion by 2010’ — Joel
people can disagree on this, but it‰s hard
to argue with Immelt’s willingness to put his company out front of the
debate in a very visible way. GE’s goal is not to promote one or two
energy technologies above the others, but to push them all
aggressively. Washington could learn a lot from that
seems to be doing several other things right in making ecomagination
central to its strategy. In many ways, it represents a textbook
approach to what a major corporate sustainability effort can look like.
Here are six specific reasons I believe GE is headed in the right
It’s being viewed as a business opportunity….
- It’s got
solid top-level commitment….
- It’s both
aspirational and specific….
It’s being integrated with the brand.
- They’re in
it for the long haul….
Time will tell, of course, how
effective this strategy
will be in helping GE gain business — and shareholder — value. If it
works, it may provide a model for how a company can strike out as an
environmental leader in today‰s cynical marketplace.
There’ll be controversy, of course, including over GE’s still unsettled
PCB contmination legacy. But this is a Big Deal, if it’s real. I
suspect it is — those ‘six reasons’ are a good market — and the proof
will be in the results. Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a
helluva big drop — and bottom line success at GE will have a more
powerful ripple effect on other companies than a tanker truck of
PS: Speaking of the risks, opportunities and business logic of all
this, you can now listen
my recent speech on Risk,
Fiduciary Responsibility and the Laws of Nature in streaming