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June 03, 2008



48 pages. Wow.

I used to present logos by holding 'em up and saying 'Here it is'. Then I got wise and added the document with all the blurb on the why, who, where... etc. The latter seemed to get a better hit rate, and oddly no one ever asked if the consumer would ever be issued with this information as the delivery van zipped by.

It seems a shame that in this day and age that, without a lot of process, product is now seldom going to be the driver, no matter how pertinent.

Wouldn't it be nice to get back, at least a little, to the old aircraft designers' adage that 'if it looks right; it'll fly right'.

R. Paul Herman

First, of all, I really enjoyed this article! Thanks!

In many respects, General Electric's Ecomagination initiative is an excellent example of this. Jeff Immelt has been able to integrate environmental goals (e.g. GHG reductions for each business unit) into performance measures and bonuses for management in very much the same way GE integrated company values in the 1990s as an important part of performance objectives.

In the release of their 2007 report, GE set yet another far-reaching objective in vowing to reduce their overall water usage by 20% from 2004 levels by 2012. GE has already saved over $100mm in reduced energy costs since the beginning of the Ecomagination initiative. Meanwhile they raised the bar on revenue deemed to be sustainable to $25 billion ($14b in 2007 and raised $5 billion from the original target set for 2010); GE's investments in clean tech now total over $1billion. Essentially, by aligning strategy to solve human problems (health in GE Medical, wealth in GE Money, earth in GE Wind and Infrastructure), here's a model example of a company that can serve growth markets and likely act as a recession hedge in a world of constrained natural resources - which was reflected in the growth rates in last quarter's earnings report.

In some industries, sustainability initiatives might benefit from collaboration among direct competitors. For example, in semi-conductor production, a fabrication facility construction is $2bil and up. Energy usage in the fab is not the competitive advantage, while the energy usage of the computer chips are. Hence, AMD, Intel and TI (and others) have been collaborating to increase energy efficiency, seek out reductions in toxins and persistent chemicals, and benefit the entire industry - while they still compete against each other.

Andrew Deitz

Up to 90% of a product’s carbon footprint occurs in the design phase. I am surprised more companies have not made the connection between carbon intensive commodities and price volatility. Integrating reliable carbon metrics into design is a crucial part of communicating the benefits of green design to stakeholders.

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