'Ecomagination' at Work: GE's Sustainability Initiative

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BECG068 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Corporate Sustainability
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2005-2006
Organization : General Electric Company
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : The US
Industry : Diversified


General Electric Company was one of the largest conglomerates in the world, with a turnover of nearly $150 billion in fiscal year 2005. The company had interests in several areas, broadly classified into six core business units covering industrial systems, infrastructure, media, healthcare, consumer finance and commercial finance.

In May 2005, GE launched a sustainability program called 'Ecomagination', aimed at making the company a more responsible corporate citizen by balancing its economic, social and environmental objectives, and creating products that would meet the environmental challenges of the future.

This case discusses the events that led to the launch of Ecomagination at GE. It describes briefly the reasons for GE's poor corporate reputation on environmental issues in the past, and the factors that prompted the company to clean up its image in the early 2000s. The case goes on to describe the vision and objectives of Ecomagination in terms of the benefits GE expected from it. It also describes the company's public relations exercise to create awareness about Ecomagination among consumers and environmentalists.

The results of the first year of Ecomagination, which GE released in the form of its first 'Ecomagination Report' in May 2006, are also given. The case concludes with a commentary on the implications of sustainability to GE as well as other companies, in the light of ever-increasing environmental challenges. The case also questions whether GE, which was one of the biggest corporate polluters in the world, would be able to extend the scope of Ecomagination to make it a company-wide initiative in the future.


To understand the importance of environmental consciousness and sustainable objectives to large global businesses, especially in the business scenario of the early 2000s

To examine the issues in implementing sustainability initiatives in a business

To appreciate the importance of laying out clear and measurable goals in pursuing sustainable objectives

To study the challenges in integrating companies' social and environmental objectives with their business targets

To understand the importance of top management support in ensuring commitment towards any new project

To understand the role that businesses can play in creating awareness about sustainability among consumers and political decision-makers.


  Page No.
Towards A Cleaner Environment 1
Background 2
Past Controversies 4
Remedial Attempts 5
From Imagination to Ecomagination 6
Outlook 9
Exhibits 11


Ecomagination, Corporate Sustainability, General Electric Co, 'Green is Green', Kyoto Protocol, Carbon controls, Global warming, WTO, Eco-friendly products, GreenOrder Inc. Renewable energy sources, Public relations, Clean technologies, Emission controls, Environment Protection Agency, PCB contamination

Towards A Cleaner Environment - Next Page>>


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