GE has really committed to its 2-year old "ecomagination" program, at least with marketing dollars. It is hard to watch TV these days without seeing a dancing animal and a light bulb. But according to the Wall Street Journal, it is more than just good PR. GE's environmentally-friendly products are selling well and are expected to grow 10% annually through 2010.
However, even with a real commitment to the environment within certain parts of the behemoth, GE has not stopped pursing contradictory income streams, such coal-fired steam turbines and investing in oil-and-gas production. While GE Chairman Jeffery Immelt backs carbon-limits and supports R&D for forward-looking products, the company still continues to support all projects, including coal-fired plants, "when the economics makes sense." As Dan Bakal, director of electric-power programs for Ceres, says in the Journal article, "GE is 'looking toward the future but they are not yet giving up all of the past.'"
GE, like may other multinationals, are attempting to change their core activities in order to be socially responsible, as well as to remain ahead of the curve on issues they predict will be major market movers in the future. We can only hope the commitment remains and these news products and programs begin to replace the old way of doing business. Otherwise we simply have more of a good thing . . . and more of a bad.