BOB CORCORAN, VP OF CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP
I am proud to announce the release of GE’s seventh annual Citizenship Report today, entitled Sustainable Growth. The report traces the source of GE’s long-term value creation through the lens of good citizenship, identifying global challenges, and GE’s expertise, contribution, impact and value.
As we have evolved our approach to citizenship over the past decade, creating shared value and helping to solve global problems have become benchmarks against which businesses are judged. Drawing on perspectives from our expert advisory panel, we include in this year’s report a ten-year retrospective to reflect on the evolution of corporate citizenship, as well as expectations and opportunities for the future.
While looking back, we recognize more than ever that the past ten years is not a journey that GE has taken alone. No business, however big, can succeed on its own, but instead always through collaboration and engagement. At GE, listening, reflecting and responding to our stakeholders has become a norm for citizenship priorities. For the fifth year in a row, GE shared an initial draft of the report with our expert advisory panel, hosting a session at corporate headquarters in Fairfield, CT to discuss in detail recommended improvements and transparency to our reporting. The report quality has been improved as a result of their efforts. The results of that engagement are also available within the report in a commentary the Panel provided the Company.
This report complements our re-launched citizenship website, gecitizenship.com, with a completely fresh look and over 300 pages of new, dynamic content. To make it more accessible to a general audience, the site is available with more user-friendly navigation and interactive features.
Responding to global challenges is not about “giving back”, but about enabling positive changes around the world.
We have applied our best resources to better our communities all over the world. Over the past year, the two GE Foundation signature programs, Developing Health Globally™ (DHG) and Developing Health™ (DH), are making a tangible difference by broadening access to health care for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. DHG expanded its reach, continuing to partner with Ministries of Health to upgrade government-operated health centers and hospitals in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The total number of sites touched since program inception now exceeds 150. DH, on the other hand, has made its way to 58 health centers in 15 U.S. cities, with further expansions expected.
We have supported some of the leading non-governmental organizations who are working to resolve the most challenging and pressing public policy dilemmas. The GE Foundation funded multi-stakeholder efforts on addressing conflict minerals issues, beginning with an issue report and a conflict minerals conference last May. These activities set the stage for two rounds of multi-stakeholder commentary on conflict minerals reporting rules being developed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a founding member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI), GE is working with other member companies to develop practices that respond to the final Business and Human Rights Guiding Principles issue by the UN Global Compact.
We have engaged in a number of issue-specific dialogues focusing where we have significant influence and impact. Last November, GE hosted a supplier summit in China, bringing together GE sourcing, EHS and quality staff with suppliers, peer companies and government representatives to discuss the challenges in securing better working conditions.
The past year has seen so many exciting opportunities; however, the changing nature of the world requires us to be ready any time for uncertainty and volatility. Earlier this year, northern Japan which has endured more than its fair share of natural disasters, recorded an earthquake and tsunami which left tens of thousands dead and even more homeless. The GE Foundation has delivered five million dollars for relief efforts, with another five million to come. We have also matched the million dollars donated by our employees to help rebuild that part of the country. We can all take pride in the demonstration of dedication from colleagues across GE who have been working around the clock to help the people of Japan after the tragic events. I would also like to thank all of the contributors for their compassion and generosity in the face of these disasters.
Finally, we welcome your thoughts on the report and look forward to continuing to create value for the Company, our internal and external stakeholders, society and the world at large.
Thank you for your role in helping make GE a good corporate citizen.
Until next time,
Vice President, Corporate Citizenship