GE started doing business in China as early as 1906 and was considered one of the most active foreign companies in the country at the time. With a growing aging population and a burgeoning middle class predicted to increase from 6% in 2010 to 51% in 2020, China is faced with immense pressure to support sustainable growth. Our vision is to work with China to help solve its toughest problems and improve the quality of life through advanced technology and investing in local innovation and R&D capabilities.
Ecomagination and healthymagination products—including lower-emission, fuel-efficient aircraft engines; gas turbines; and a China-developed CT scanner—are two key strategies to help both our customers and China increase their growth while reducing costs and environmental impacts.
GE is committed to developing highly skilled employees; suppliers that can meet international quality, environmental, and social standards; and a business environment that supports integrity and innovation. GE provides high-quality training in many sites to help develop 21st century talent not only for GE, but also for China, including training offered at the John F. Welch Leadership Center, which hosts “China CEO Program” sessions between GE, China’s Central Organizational Department, and communities. Our goal is to create innovations, value and opportunities everywhere we operate.
In 2013, 4,000 GE Volunteers contributed 22,000 hours on almost 200 projects in 22 locations in China. With a special focus on making a difference in education and healthcare, activities included workshops run by senior trainers from the GE China Learning Center for English teachers in local migrant schools; training in multimedia, presentation, essay writing and advanced teaching methodologies; and other activities.
GE has played an active role in the activities of Junior Achievement in China for years. As part of this program, from 2010 to 2012, GE Volunteers contributed over 33,000 hours of volunteer time to almost 300 schools, reaching 13,781 students. Programs focused on schools in second- and third-tier cities and migrant schools that tend to lack resources to provide students with high-quality education and innovative teaching.
As we do in all the regions where we work, GE actively responds when disasters strike in China. We support areas affected by disasters by donating GE equipment and technology to help rebuild communities. Our medical devices and lighting products enable local clinics and hospitals to provide patients with high levels of care that normally would be unavailable in remote areas. In April 2013, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Lushan County, near the city of Ya’an in the southwestern province of Sichuan, GE provided a wide range of medical equipment, and GE Healthcare employees traveled to the site of the disaster to show medical practitioners how to use the donated equipment so that it could be put to immediate use.
Through recruitment, training and development, GE seeks to help people develop rewarding and enjoyable careers. By the end of 2013, GE China employed more than 18,000, more than 16% of whom have worked for GE for more than 15 years. In China, more than a third of all employees receive training from the GE China Learning Center every year, and about 70% of management-level positions are filled from within.
EHS Capacity Building
Since 2006, GE has been working together with peer companies to support an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Center in China’s Guangdong Province. The Center has been developed together with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and Lingnan College of Sun Yat-sen University, and draws on the expertise of EHS managers and auditors from GE and other companies to provide long-term, high-quality training for EHS managers. By the end of 2012, EHS managers from 7,000 GE factories took training courses at the Center, and 10 more multinational companies joined forces with GE, including Honeywell, Wal-Mart, Adidas, Citibank and Nike, to support the program.
In 2011 GE collaborated with ISC and Nanjing University to launch a second EHS Center based in Suzhou, serving manufacturers in the Yangtze Delta area.
Annually since 2009, GE China has released the “GE Environmental Report–China,” disclosing environmental performance data and demonstrating GE’s commitment to environmental transparency. Compliance with China’s laws and regulations is at the core of GE China’s EHS policy, and a precondition for any operation or investment in China. GE uses local EHS regulatory guidelines and self-assessment checklists, developed for national regulations on air, water, waste and other environmental areas, to ensure compliance with EHS requirements. This enables GE China to operate responsibly and increase its business in China’s growing market.
GE is also a strong proponent of “Treasure Hunts,” competitions that leverage the expertise and creativity of GE employees in identifying energy-saving opportunities. The GE Aviation Suzhou site reduced its electricity consumption16% from 2011. It introduced new compressors and updated lighting in 2012, which saved 1,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. And the GE China Technology Center reduced 1,200 metric tons of CO2e by replacing refrigerators with an energy-saving model. The total electricity consumption dropped 1.43 million kWh year-over-year and saved 1 million RMB.
In May 2012, the first customer Innovation Center officially opened in Chengdu, China. In one of China’s high-growth western regions, the 33,000-square-meter compound, located in suburban Chengdu, will reengineer the way we develop industrial solutions and engage customers. China Innovation Center (CIC), Chengdu, provides an open platform for Chinese customers to better work with GE engineers to define and develop new products and technology solutions. As part of GE’s commitment to its healthymagination and primary-healthcare strategy in China, the majority of innovations at CIC Chengdu will be concentrated on primary-healthcare solutions, such as medical equipment and technology solutions for China’s growing pool of primary-care providers at the grassroots level (including diagnosistic solutions such as X-rays, ultrasound and computed tomography; medical imaging post-processing technologies; and healthcare IT solutions).
Eco-Challenge China was launched in September 2011 with seven venture capital partners and received 200 submissions from individuals and organizations with innovative ideas for influencing China’s energy future. In May 2012, a judging panel that included GE Technology and Commercial leaders and external experts selected five projects to be funded.
Winning ideas included an engineering solution that converts pressure, otherwise lost at natural-gas-pipeline gate stations, into a steady energy supply for urban heating or cooling systems; a chemical that helps significantly cut the cost of the natural gas–refueling process and potentially paves the way for commercial-scale deployment of natural gas–powered automobiles; and a sophisticated membrane system that increases the efficiency of wastewater-stream purification on oil and gas fields.
Since 2011, GE and partners have invested $100 million in this initiative in China.
Read GE China’s 2014 Environmental Report here.