Imagine a world gone green

| by John Johnson
Imagine a world gone green

GE is investing heavily in green. The firm is sinking $10 billion into ecomagination, the sustainable product division it launched in 2005, after seeing high demand for the energy efficient appliances the division sells.

When GE released its corporate update for its green ecomagination division in June, it predicted that sales of its green line of appliances and other products would reach $180 billion in 2009, representing six percent growth during difficult economic times. Better yet, GE says that the growth of its ecomagination product line will be double that of traditional products for the foreseeable future.

It’s just another indication that Energy Star appliances and other green products are here to stay as environmentally friendly consumers and those in the home building trade look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and energy usage.

“We have grown ecomagination revenue and research and development every year, even in challenging economic times. Given our success, we are committing to do more,” said Steve Fludder, vice president ecomagination. “The vision of a cleaner, affordable, secure and globally accessible energy infrastructure inspires and motivates us. Today, we are doubling our commitments to accelerate our contributions and to lead. We will invest twice as much in the next 5 years.”

GE says that it surpassed $5 billion in ecomagination research and development investment in 2009 – a full year ahead of schedule -- and will invest an additional $10 billion by 2015.

GE’s 2009 ecomagination annual report details the significant progress and milestones achieved since the 2005 launch, including new commitments as the company celebrates ecomagination’s fifth anniversary. GE reported that revenues from its portfolio of energy efficient and environmentally advantageous products and services crossed $18 billion in 2009; greenhouse gas intensity was reduced 39 percent compared to 2004; and GHG emissions from GE operations were 22 percent lower than the 2004 baseline.

“Ecomagination is one of our most successful cross-company business initiatives,” Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO, said in a release. “If counted separately, 2009 ecomagination revenues would equal that of a Fortune 130 company and ecomagination revenue growth equals almost two times the company average. We have made bold investments in ecomagination research and development and it has resulted in strong returns for shareholders.”

GE’s annual report for its ecomagination division includes the following updates:

Double investment in clean research and development:  In 2009, GE invested $1.5 billion on ecomagination R&D, reaching the commitment to double its annual investment by 2010 one year ahead of schedule. GE continues to unleash new technology. Therefore, in 2010 GE is introducing a new commitment to invest an additional $10 billion in ecomagination research and development by 2015.

Increase revenues from ecomagination products: In 2009, ecomagination revenues grew six percent to $18 billion in a challenging global environment. GE is now committing that ecomagination revenue will grow at twice the rate of total company revenue in the next five years, making ecomagination an even larger proportion of total company sales.

Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy efficiency of its operations: GE reduced its GHG emissions by 22 percent compared to 2004. GE improved its energy intensity 34 percent compared to 2004, surpassing the goal of 30 percent in 2012. By 2015, GE will improve the energy intensity of its operations by 50 percent, and will reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25 percent (both using the 2004 baseline).

Reduce water use and improve water reuse: GE reduced water consumption 30 percent compared to a 2006 baseline, surpassing the original goal of 20 percent by 2012.

Communicate with the public:GE is continuing ongoing discussions, dialogues and communications to engage with the public on its ecomagination efforts. Later this year, GE will launch an updated website at where consumers can learn more and engage in a dialogue about GE and ecomagination.

Topics: Appliances, Cost of Ownership, Energy Audits, Water Quality, Water Saving Devices

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