"Ecomagination is GE's commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water," Immelt said. "And we plan to make money doing it. Increasingly for business, 'green' is green.
"Ecomagination is about the future," Immelt said. "We will focus our unique energy, technology, manufacturing and infrastructure capabilities to develop tomorrow's solutions such as solar energy, hybrid locomotives, fuel cells, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger materials, efficient lighting and water purification technology.
"We will establish partnerships with our customers to tackle their most pressing environmental challenges and double our research spending to develop the products and services they need," Immelt said. "And we will use these technologies to improve our own energy efficiency and environmental performance."
Under ecomagination, GE will:
-- Double investment in R&D. GE will invest $1.5 billion annually in research in cleaner technologies by 2010, up from $700 million in 2004.
-- Introduce more ecomagination products each year. GE will double its revenues from products and services that provide significant and measurable environmental performance advantages to customers - from $10 billion in 2004 to at least $20 billion in 2010 with more aggressive targets thereafter. These products include renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, technologies and materials that make energy production and consumption more efficient, cleaner and more efficient transportation technologies, and products and services that conserve or purify water.
-- Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve its energy efficiency. In addition to helping customers meet their environmental goals, GE has committed to reduce its GHG emissions 1 percent by 2012 and the intensity of its GHG emissions 30 percent by 2008 (both compared to 2004). Based on the company's projected growth, GE's GHG emissions would have risen 40 percent by 2012 without further action.
-- Keep the public informed. GE pledges to publicly report its progress in meeting these goals.
Jonathan Lash, president of the Washington-based World Resources Institute, said, "This is a hugely important step by one of the world's most important companies. It is particularly encouraging that GE is focusing its research on cleaner technologies and making a serious, meaningful and accountable commitment to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Innovation and leadership are what is necessary to address climate change, and that is what we are seeing from GE."
Immelt announced the program today in a series of events in Washington, D.C., including a speech at The George Washington University. Joining Immelt and Lash in making the announcement were executives from leading companies that are working with GE on ecomagination projects and technologies, including American Electric Power, Boeing, Canadian Pacific Railway, Cinergy, Delphi and Pardee Homes.
GE already is among the leaders in energy-efficient power generation technologies, renewable energy technologies, water purification, and energy-efficient consumer appliance and lighting products. Also, GE's aircraft engines and locomotives are among the most efficient and cleanest in the world.
GE has initially identified 17 products that meet its ecomagination criteria. These products must significantly and measurably improve customers' environmental and operating performance. Examples include products that are significantly more energy-efficient than existing technologies, renewable resource technology such as wind power and products that meet third-party efficiency or environmental standards. GreenOrder, an environmental consulting firm, provided independent, quantitative environmental analysis of GE's products and verification of the product claims. Detailed information about these products is available online at www.ge.com/ecomagination.
GE has been discussing this initiative for about a year with customers, non-governmental organizations, thought leaders and GE employees across the globe. These discussions crystallized the growing market demand for solutions to the challenges GE customers face, such as the need for cleaner and more efficient sources of energy and water, as well as the need to invest in the best technologies to provide solutions to these issues.
The ecomagination initiative builds on GE's demonstrated commitment to environmental, health and safety excellence in all of its operations and to responsibly address legacy issues related to past industrial operations.
To communicate ecomagination to GE's customers, employees, shareholders and the public, an integrated advertising and communications plan will launch today. It will include broadcast, print and online advertising and an interactive Web site (www.ge.com/ecomagination).
"GE is committed to the success of its customers," Immelt said. "When they win, GE wins. Our customers deal with some of society's toughest environmental and sustainability challenges. Ecomagination will produce products that help customers find the right solutions to these issues. That's good for the environment and good for business."
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.