GE’s sustainability initiatives

Yesterday I attended an
outreach event, organized by AccountAbility
and GE, to bring together NGO stakeholders to provide input on GE’s
continually developing sustainability initiatives.  I was one of a couple
of other corporate attendees invited to provide input.  I tried to do my
part, but I think that I also learned just as much on behalf of BT as my GE
colleagues no doubt learned for their company.  It was an excellent event
and something more companies should do.


I had the opportunity to
hear about GE’s recently announced Healthymagination initiative.
What a fantastic example of staying ahead of the competition.  Many
companies are trying to work out how they catch up with GE’s Ecomagination and GE leapfrog
themselves with this!

Although I don’t for one
minute think that the folks at GE based their program on my Four
Dimensions of Sustainability
, it is a great example for me to use of a
comprehensive and holistic approach.  It includes significant attention to
each of the four dimensions: Direct Impact, Product in Use Impact, Enabled
Impact and Inform and Influence.

Direct Impact – key initiatives focused on GE’s own employee
wellness and health.

Product in Use and Enabled Impact – the major thrust of the
program is R&D spend to launch an ambitious range of health product
innovations aiming for cost reduction, access improvement and quality

Inform and Influence – A commitment to applicable health
information programming on NBC and MSNBC

I was also impressed with a
recognition of some of the policy issues facing overall healthcare costs and
expectations with GE’s commitment to producing a range of “only what is
needed” products.

Not every company has the
range of business capabilities that is available to GE – especially the media
outlets that enable them to take Inform and Influence so seriously. But I think
this is still an enviable example for all CSR and sustainability executives of
taking our role within our own companies way beyond philanthropy.