Gap Score
Demographic shifts, technological trends, and the need for readily available energy sources have influenced GE’s decision to pivot its business strategy from being one of the world’s leading manufacturing and technology companies to advanced manufacturing, the industrial internet (read: Big Data), and natural gas. The company started to test more sustainable technologies long before sustainability was a common business buzzword. Last September, GE became even more forthcoming about its corporate citizenship initiatives and strategy with the launch of GECitizenship.com. It still sees a halo effect from ecomagination, even as it pulled back marketing spend on the sub-brand for its sustainable innovation efforts. It continued to make headlines last year by posting USD $105 billion in revenues since ecomagination’s launch, investing more than USD $2 billion in research and development, and reducing greenhouse gases by 29 percent. In addition, GE installed more than 27,000 wind turbines last year, developed a compressed natural gas fueling supply system, and purchased 2,000 hybrid plug-in vehicles from Ford. Yet the brand’s investment in natural gas and rapidly expanding Oil & Gas segment has critics questioning GE’s dedication to the planet. A new USD $110 million research center in Oklahoma City devoted to mining shale gas and other unconventional sources of energy signals the company’s willingness to lead the shale gas revolution. Given GE’s new business strategy and investments in traditional energy such as oil and coal, communicating the company’s commitment to sustainability will play an increasingly important role if the brand hopes to maintain its reputation and goodwill among stakeholders.