General Electric (GE)
GE is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world's toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
GE has a strong set of global businesses in infrastructure, finance and media aligned to meet today's needs, including the demand for global infrastructure; growing and changing demographics that need access to healthcare, finance, and information and entertainment; and environmental technologies.
CITIZENSHIP AT GENERAL ELECTRIC
GE’s approach to corporate citizenship and to business are driven by a common understanding of the role we can play in helping to solve the world’s toughest problems. Our goals are to make money (strong, sustained economic performance), make it ethically (rigorous compliance with financial and legal rules), and make a difference (ethical actions, beyond formal requirements, to advance GE’s reputation and long-term health).
GE’s citizenship performance is categorized into a range of priorities.
Talent is the lifeblood of any organization, and GE views employees as its highest priority resource. From internships to comprehensive benefits and compensation, GE takes a thorough approach to providing skills and value to employees. Innovative programs are in place to perpetuate a culture of health for GE’s people, while labor relations policies and employment practices ensure an environment grounded in fairness. The ability of employees to deliver candid feedback is an important component, as is a rigorous initiative to foster diversity.
Compliance & Governance
GE infuses compliance and governance into every aspect of its business. On a company-wide level, the Regulatory Excellence initiative has mandated a full re-examination of GE’s compliance systems and processes to assure that risks are anticipated and managed effectively. Processes are in place for executive accountability and compliance training, and an open reporting environment and acquisition framework set the tone for a culture of integrity.
The advancement of global policy initiatives is an important activity for organizations large and small. In GE’s case, the motivation of such an endeavor goes beyond the commercial. By furthering discussion in such areas as trade, energy, healthcare, education and human rights, GE is able to share best practices while gaining new knowledge around solving the world’s biggest problems.
In the context of citizenship, the term “environment” has two important connotations. It refers to both a company’s impact on our communities and the organization’s workplace, within which the health and safety of employees must be ensured. At GE, a dedicated team is responsible for both, applying world-class expectations, operational tools and training that ranges from greenhouse gas emissions and water use to workplace illness and injury.
GE sets expectations for its suppliers regarding environment, health, safety and employment practices and conducts on-site inspections of many suppliers, mostly in emerging markets. In addition to requiring suppliers to address deficiencies identified in on-site assessments, we are working to provide training to suppliers and identify capacity-building projects in places where GE has a significant supplier base. We also did a thorough program review and are currently piloting program refinements designed to encourage GE’s suppliers to adopt their own management approach to ethical business issues.
GE views respect for human rights as a fundamental part of responsible corporate citizenship. Human rights concerns touch GE’s sphere of influence in many ways, whether they involve issues with suppliers or the intersection of our water business with the human right to that resource. Often GE helps to effect change through partnerships, such as collaborations with the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR) and the UN Global Compact. Additionally, some issues like privacy affect the entirety of our enterprise.
Our Products & Services
Across businesses, GE follows a longstanding and robust process for new product introductions (NPI). While commercial considerations are a critical part of our NPI process, additional factors like environmental and health impact also play an important role. In addition, our ecomagination and healthymagination commitments guide product development to help us meet customer needs regarding climate change and sustainable healthcare.
As GE has become a more market-facing organization in recent years, the company has viewed customers as increasingly important collaborators — particularly in the product development cycle. A deep understanding of customer needs is critical to the most effective partnerships, particularly since the success of our customers complements our own. To this end, GE has developed a number of tools, processes and programs to engage our customers in the process of developing products.
While GE is dedicated to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges, the company recognizes that such work cannot be accomplished through large-scale commercial means alone. From education and community development to health and the environment, the GE family also invests time and energy in addressing these issues on a community level. Philanthropic efforts and volunteerism are both important ways to support a range of such activities.