Latin American countries are a strategic base for GE. The region represents one of the five main markets for the Company.
GE has been present in Mexico for more than 115 years and in Argentina and Brazil for more than 90 years. Our Aviation, Energy, Healthcare, Lighting, Oil & Gas, Transportation and Capital businesses thrive in Latin America, with over 22,000 employees, 47 industrial facilities, nine service shops and one Center for Advanced Engineering located in Mexico. Our revenues in the region amounted to $8.2 billion in 2011.
In 2011, GE chose Brazil as the home of its fifth Global Research center, and it is investing $100 million in the construction of the center’s facilities on the Island of Bom Jesus (Ilha do Fundão), Rio de Janeiro. A GE Global Training center, focused on the training and development of the Company’s human capital, will be located next to the Global Research center.
GE chose Brazil to be the home of its fifth Global Research center (GRC). The center, located in Rio de Janeiro, will be the first GRC in Latin America. With an initial investment of $100 million, the Brazilian GRC will employ 200 researchers and engineers. The current research center in Rio de Janeiro has 50 employees, through an agreement with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
The challenges that the Brazil GRC will face include diversification and optimization of the energy matrix, pre-salt-layer oil exploration, development of health technologies that offer access to quality treatment of diseases for the whole population, and solutions for water treatment and reuse.
A more technical partnership has been executed with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the main Brazilian federal body that encourages national research policies. Based on existing programs, the research will target infrastructure projects in Brazil.
Finally, another big step in turning the Brazil GRC into an important source of highly qualified solutions was the agreement made with the Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas of São Paulo (IPT) to share expertise in high technology and establish research in key areas for the development of local science and industry. To address Brazil’s needs as a technologically developing country, the partnership will identify the application of processes or experiences that may be used in the improvement of solutions in bio-nanotechnology, bioenergy, oil and gas, and research and development support.
Learn more about the Brazil GRC.
Diversity in Celma
The GE Celma Aviation facility in Rio de Janeiro State has many progressive leadership systems and practices, as well as unique opportunities for its employees. Celma’s technical school has developed a job-skills training program for disabled individuals, through which they can receive training either to become potential hires for GE in Brazil or for other career paths.
Volunteerism—115 years of good actions in Mexico
GE celebrated 115 years of its operation in Mexico with the “115 Thousand” campaign. The goal was to achieve 115,000 hours of volunteering through three thematic projects: build 115 homes in poor communities, read for 115,000 hours and improve lighting for 115 schools.
The Company’s most ambitious social responsibility initiative in this country, the campaign was carried out following a strategic planning session between GE Volunteers, their families, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and members of the benefitting communities.
In order for the campaign objectives to be realized, a huge effort was necessary. All five GE Volunteers councils in Mexico and other volunteer groups rallied, helped also by their families and NGOs. Participants were able to contribute to the initiative during 2011–2012. In total, GE Volunteers donated approximately 125,000 hours during the campaign.
DHG: Witnessing improvements in Honduras—Maternal and Infant Care
Through Developing Health Globally™ (DHG), early reports indicate a 39% reduction in infant mortality in the national neonatal intensive care unit of Escuela Hospital in Honduras. At Hospital Olanchito, infant mortality has dropped by an estimated 55%, and assisted birthing has increased by 12%. Maternal/infant morbidity has also been affected. New ultrasound equipment enables faster and more accurate diagnoses for pediatric pneumonia and abdominal trauma. Improved patient monitoring, enabled through equipment and training, has led to better management of fetal stress and hypothermia in these hospitals.
Fighting against Chronic Diseases in slums in Rio de Janeiro
In Brazil, children are suffering from chronic-disease epidemics. Limited availability of fruit and vegetables in their diets undermines their immune systems, as well as their physical and cognitive development. Childhood obesity and diabetes, caused by high-calorie, processed, industrialized food, are growing exponentially and have largely surpassed malnutrition and infectious diseases as causes of ill health. Children also suffer from the loss or disease of their relatives, decreases in economic capacity and difficulties in accessing medical services. Access to sports and recreation is increasingly considered a fundamental right of children, given its importance to their overall development. Change is imperative.
GE Foundation is investing approximately $200,000 in two different projects in Rio de Janeiro, to help treat chronic diseases in poor communities such as Complexo do Alemão and Salgueiro.
The program located in Complexo do Alemão is promoting better health, reducing diseases and improving the quality of life of local residents.
In the first two weeks of June, GE Brazil celebrated World Environment Day with a series of educational activities related to the world’s key environmental challenges. The overall objective was to raise awareness of environmental issues, as well as individual responsibility, through the lens of conscious consumption and the responsible use of natural resources. The first week featured daily teasers on the conscious use of paper and plastic cups, as well as energy savings and recycling practices at work and home. Employees also had the opportunity to estimate their individual carbon footprint using an open and free application developed by the World Wildlife Federation. These activities took place at eight administrative and industrial sites, gathering around 4,000 of the 8,000 GE employees in the country.
The initiative was also meant to communicate GE’s EHS (Environmental, Health and Safety) philosophy, major initiatives, achievements and objectives for 2012. Bill Flanagan, director of GE Global Research center’s Ecoassessment Center of Excellence, conducted a broad-based online meeting to inform our local teams about the company’s latest research on lifecycle assessment and other tools designed to assess and reduce the environmental footprint of our products.
As in the rest of the GE world, GE Brazil uses the company’s proprietary management systems and certification programs, Global Star and Environmental Excellence, to encourage and recognize excellence in occupational health and safety, and environmental practices, respectively. The programs have clear scoring systems, allowing us to track and monitor progress.
In Brazil, seven out of our nine industrial sites from GE Energy, Aviation, Transportation and Healthcare are Global Star–certified, and we are working on achieving a first Environmental Excellence certification at one of these sites by the end of the year.
Finally, World Environment Day was a great opportunity to celebrate the excellent results achieved by the Company in 2011, registering no exceedances, whether air or water, not only in Brazil but also in the rest of GE’s Latin American operations.
Rule of Law
In partnership with the International Judiciary Academy, GE Foundation is funding a project in Latin America to improve transparency and the rule of law in local judiciary systems. The program is supporting the intensive training of judges from Argentina, Uruguay and Chile in both intellectual property rights and innovation, and in understanding how the U.S. judiciary system works.
GE Lighting is paving the way for greener lighting solutions throughout Latin America. Already within the first quarter of 2012, we’ve increased our investment in green lighting solutions by 20% from 2011. While we are developing lighting solutions for the entire world, we are especially focused on efficient solutions for Brazil. In Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Rio de Janeiro, the citywide installation of 450 LED fixtures provided energy savings of 50% and a 50% reduction in annual CO2 emissions, compared with previous lighting fixtures. GE Lighting looks forward to implementing innovative, energy-efficient lighting solutions for the preparation and execution of the Brazil-hosted 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
Last year, the partnership between the Municipal Health and Civil Defense of Rio de Janeiro and GE Brazil introduced its “Cardiomobile,” a cardiology healthcare mobile unit that transports electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and treadmill testing to remote and poverty-stricken communities to provide accessible and affordable heart examinations. The Cardiomobile project lasted more than three months, covering five areas in Rio City, and resulting in more than 2,000 patients served and 2,199 examinations completed.
In Campinas, São Paulo, GE has been crafting innovative solutions since 1962, producing more than 17,000 motors and electronic generators for over 50 countries. Our motors have been used by almost 30% of Brazilian industrial plants producing locomotives, cranes, oil and gas implements, and numerous other components integral to Brazil’s infrastructure.
GE Transportation continues to deliver cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technologies crucial to local and global customers.
Our Contagem facility in Minas Gerais is regarded as one of the most modern transportation-production plants in the world. In 2011, the plant doubled its annual production rate to 100 locomotives and achieved a cumulative internal-production milestone of 1,300 locomotives. By the end of 2012, GE Transportation intends to nationalize 60% of Brazil’s locomotion production.