In 2005, the world hadn’t woken up to the problem of climate change – it wasn’t until 2006 that Al Gore released his seminal film, An Inconvenient Truth, and sparked a global debate on our collective futures.
One surprising exception was GE, which leapt ahead of the conversation about sustainability, by launching an ambitious new business that would set the standard for sustainable businesses.
Initially, we worked with GE on the economics that underpinned the move. An emerging new truth – that customers were looking for more sustainable product solutions in their supply chain – combined with our market sizing, gave GE the courage to make its audacious commitment: through Ecomagination, it would invest billions of dollars in those areas of its business, from driers and light bulbs to gas turbines and jet engines, that met a set of sustainability criteria. We helped to develop the criteria, build the strategy for the new platform and bring the brand to life, with a visual palette of natural photography and light colours. We added nudges like an Earth Rewards card and designed a program to constantly highlight both the energy and money customers had saved by leveraging Ecomagination products and services.
The brand launched to astonishing success. According to Fast Company Magazine, Ecomagination didn’t just move the market, it also “became the lynch pin of a remarkably successful reinvention of GE, (and) the foundation of the company’s future.”
By 2012, it had increased GE’s bottom line by 150% and demonstrated to the world that sustainability represented a huge business opportunity not just a social responsibility initiative. Today, Ecomagination has become a platform for more than $30 billion annual revenues in initiatives ranging from digital wind farms to investments in green start-ups. And GE has proved that companies can be mindful and daring, balancing innovation and safety to drive exceptional commercial success.