GE announced today that it is expanding its “ecomagination” strategy and committing to reduce its global water use 20 per cent by 2012.The company also reported that revenues from its portfolio of energy efficient and environmentally advantageous products and services crossed $14 billion in 2007, up more than 15 per cent from 2006; the ecomagination order book surged past $70 billion; and GE’s own “cleantech” fund passed $1 billion for the first time.

“The success of ecomagination across the globe and in Canada is outstanding,” GE Canada’s president and CEO Elyse Allan said in a press release. “Through innovation and sound execution, we have developed effective solutions to address customer challenges. The results are reducing operating costs and environmental impact. GE’s new commitment to water reduction will drive change around the company’s water usage.”

GE’s 2007 Global ecomagination Annual Report was also released today and is available online at www.ecomagination.com.

Five items of particular interest to Canadians are:

  • Bordeaux Developments – Canada’s first eco homebuilders program with Bordeaux Developments in Alberta. A 1,750 acre mixed-use development incorporating innovative environmental initiatives for smart land use and reduced energy and water use.
  • CP Rail – The addition of GE Evolution Series locomotives to Canadian Pacific’s (CP) fleet. This decision will improve fuel efficiency and reduce air pollutants.
  • Plutonic Power hydro electric project – The first renewable energy equity investment in Canada by GE Energy Financial Services in partnership with Plutonic Power Corporation. The 196 megawatt, run-of-river hydro electric power project in British Columbia will produce electrical energy to power 75,000 homes.
  • Region of Peel – The world’s largest membrane ultrafiltration water treatment facility is located in Peel Region. Built on a space-constrained site, the region’s water treatment plant is able to boost capacity by 96 million gallons per day in half the space that a conventional sand filter technology would require.
  • The Vancouver Convention Centre – A membrane wastewater management system will be installed to clean water from within the building and reuse it for flush fixtures and to irrigate a new six-acre rooftop garden. The site will house Olympic broadcasting in 2010.
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In 2005, GE set an original goal to grow revenues from ecomagination products from $6 billion in 2004 to $20 billion in 2010. With today’s progress report, GE forecasts it will surpass $20 billion a year earlier than forecast, and is consequently raising the annual ecomagination revenue goal to $25 billion by 2010.

GE made the following progress on each of its ecomagination commitments in 2007, while adding a new commitment on water use and reuse today:

  • Double its investment in clean research and development – GE invested $1.1 billion in cleaner technology research and development in 2007, closing in on its $1.5 billion annual ecomagination R&D target by 2010. GE also increased the number of ecomagination-certified products by 38 per cent over last year – from 45 to 62 products.
  • Increase revenues from ecomagination products – GE reported $14 billion in revenues from ecomagination products and services in 2007. GE is now escalating its revenue target: from an original goal of $20 billion in annual sales by 2010 to $25 billion in annual sales by the same deadline.
  • Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy efficiency of its operations – GHG emissions from operations in 2007 were reduced by about eight per cent from the 2004 baseline. GHG and energy intensity were reduced by 34 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, compared to 2004 – ahead of GE’s commitment to reduce its GHG emissions one per cent by 2012, reduce the intensity of its GHG emissions 30 per cent by 2008, and improve energy efficiency 30 per cent by the end of 2012. Energy cost savings to the company is roughly $100 million thus far.
  • GE is newly committing to reducing its global water use from 2006 to 2012 by 20 per cent – In 2007, total GE water consumption from waters used for potable, process, and sanitary purposes as well as non-contact cooling waters from freshwater sources decreased by two per cent from what was reported for 2006. Progress on this new goal will be reported annually in future ecomagination reports.
  • Keep the public informed – GE continues to inform the public of the company’s progress via its ecomagination web site, advertising and engagement with customers and other stakeholders.
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GE’s commitment to reduce its own environmental footprint has caught the imagination of employees around the world, with more than 5,000 energy saving and greenhouse gas-reducing projects ongoing at GE facilities. In Canada, the relamping of the Oakville lighting plant has significantly reduced energy costs, and GE’s corporate headquarters in Mississauga achieved the first LEED EB (existing building) designation in Ontario and the second in Canada.

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