Leadership in a Dynamic World

The global landscape is changing. Digital is creating world-changing innovations, but also disrupting industry and how people work. At the same time, economic nationalism is rising around the world, largely resulting from parts of society not benefitting from years of increased globalization. Sustainability has also evolved. Business must now lead and not depend on government to be a beacon for sustainability. We must move on our own. It is no longer enough for companies to focus on their direct footprint, they must think about what types of jobs and opportunities they are creating for society. Tackling environmental challenges, affordable healthcare and energy access remain critical but have become engrained in our business operations. Right now, we are challenging ourselves to retrain workers, provide new skills for the digital age and make investments for high-quality jobs in communities around the world. This is an imperative not only for our company, but the 180 countries where we operate.

Sustainability isn’t an initiative for us; it is integrated into our core business strategy:

  • Rethinking Skills Development: GE spends $1 billion a year on development and skills training. We are working to ensure that this training equips employees and communities to benefit from digital and advancements in manufacturing. For example, we recently announced a $10 million program to provide high schools and colleges around the world access to the latest 3D printing technologies for their students.
  • Promoting Diversity: We have long seen the benefits of diversity across our company. This year, we set a goal to create a global workforce of 20,000 technical women into STEM roles by 2020 and recruit 50% women into all our entry-level technical leadership programs. We believe that this transformation will foster more innovation and increase our capacity to tackle global challenges.
  • Investing for Affordable Healthcare: Over 5.8 billion people still lack access to quality, affordable healthcare. To help find solutions, GE Healthcare has committed $300 million to launch Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, which will bring disruptive technologies to healthcare providers across emerging markets. At the center of this initiative is GE’s Affordable Care Portfolio, which today includes more than 50 healthcare devices designed specifically for rural markets.
  • Pushing Innovation in Energy: Investing in clean energy is good for business, job creation, the economy and the world. Last year, we invested $2.7 billion in cleaner technology solutions across fossil fuels, renewables and the grid through our Ecomagination strategy. Our Global Research Center continues to push the boundaries of technology with innovations such as grid-parity wind power and 65%-efficient, combined-cycle gas power plants.
  • Meeting our Environmental Goals: We have set ambitious goals to reduce our freshwater use and GHG emissions by 20% from a 2011 baseline by 2020. We have made big strides by applying GE innovations in on-site solar and LED lighting at numerous facilities. We are now working around the world to increase productivity and reduce energy in our operations by applying energy management data insights using our Predix operating platform.

We can’t solve these issues alone. However, we will continue to do our part through partnerships across industry, government, education and civil society to ensure we are preparing our communities to thrive in this changing world.

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Posted March 2017