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GE Generates $25 Billion in Revenues from Sustainability Investments

Image credit: GE

Last year, General Electric invested nearly $2 billion in research and development for sustainability innovation and generated some $25 billion in revenue, according to the company’s 2012 “Our Global Impact” update.

The report includes an update on commitments made through ecomagination, GE’s program to develop products and services with significant environmental advantages. These commitments include:

  • Doubling investment in clean-tech research and development: R&D investments on ecomagination technologies in 2012 totaled $1.4 billion with overall R&D investment totaling more than $5 billion between 2010 and 2012, which is on track toward the company’s goal of a $10 billion cumulative investment between 2010 and 2015.
  • Increasing revenues from ecomagination products: In 2010, GE set an ambitious goal of growing revenues from ecomagination offerings at twice the rate of total company revenue in five years. In 2012, ecomagination met this objective with revenue totaling $25 billion.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2015 and improving the energy intensity of operations 50 percent by 2015: GE energy intensity improved 32 percent from the 2004 baseline year (measured as energy/$ revenue). GHG emissions were reduced 32 percent from the adjusted 2004 baseline.
  • Reducing freshwater use by 25 percent and improve water reuse: GE’s freshwater use was reduced 46 percent from the 2006 baseline.

“Our ecomagination strategy is embedded in our research, our product development and our operations,” said Deb Frodl, global executive director, of GE’s ecomagination. “It has helped our customers save billions of dollars while significantly reducing their environmental impact. By creating solutions that work today and account for local demands, ecomagination has generated more than $130 billion in revenue since 2005.”

The report also provides an update on GE’s healthymagination commitments, which include investing in new technologies and business models; collaborating with customers, government, universities and industry leaders; and expanding employee health efforts.

GE, along with its employees and retiree,s gave $219 million to community and educational organizations, including $130 million from the GE Foundation, the report says.

In May, GE announced that it has developed a new membrane to purify tough-to-treat water, such as wastewater from industrial processes, which can reduce time between cleanings by as much as 50 percent and reduce the amount of effluent wastewater that is sent to municipal sewage or to fresh water sources.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]