Beijing, China; Brussels, Belgium, and Fairfield, Conn. - May 28, 2008 – GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt today launched a new ecomagination commitment, announcing a company-wide absolute 20% fresh water reduction target by 2012. The new initiative is one of the world's most aggressive corporate water reduction targets to date and is expected to save 7.4 million cubic meters (2 billion U.S. gallons) of fresh water – enough water to fill more than 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
"Harnessing our technologies and global capabilities, GE's commitment sets the standard for water footprint reductions," said Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE. "We will use our broad portfolio to reduce water consumption, ensure long-term supplies and increase operational returns at GE facilities around the world."
In 2006, GE used approximately 37 million cubic meters (10 billion U.S. gallons) of fresh water. Using this figure as a baseline, GE will aggressively implement water reuse and process efficiencies to meet the company's absolute water reduction target. Selective GE sites will decrease water use by applying process efficiencies and/or reusing highly treated wastewater for a variety of commercial and manufacturing needs, such as, boiler feed water, cooling tower make-up, heat exchangers and manufacturing processes. GE will use the same portfolio of water-saving solutions to help reduce municipal, industrial and agriculture customers' fresh water use.
As part of the water reduction target, GE will also use its industry-proven water assessment tools to help customers, like Baosteel Group Corporation, evaluate water use, identify efficiency goals and metrics and deliver solutions that meet customers' environmental and regulatory goals.
"We are delighted to be working together with GE in water reduction and other areas," said Xu Lejiang, Chairman of Baosteel Group Corporation. "Baosteel promises to continue reducing its water consumption; sharing its experiences with industry peers; and improving overall water resource management in the steel industry. Baosteel believes that efficient use of limited water resources will lead to unlimited, sustainable development of our business."
"Water conservation and reuse can be a valuable tool for customers to reduce operating costs and create new sources of revenue," said Jeff Garwood, president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies. "In fact, our water solutions treat millions of cubic meters of water a day -- allowing our customers to minimize their exposure to water scarcity, reduce costs and water footprints."
In addition to announcing the water reduction commitment, GE also released a comprehensive water reuse white paper designed to help communities and other governmental authorities to increase recycling and reuse of water in their area. The white paper includes a menu of policies and global best practices that are being used in different locations around the world and identifies four major policies to increase recycling and reuse: education and outreach; removing barriers; incentives; mandates and regulation.
Launched in May 2005, ecomagination is GE's commitment to imagine and build innovative technologies that help customers address their environmental and financial needs and help GE grow. A report issued today is the third annual accounting on how the strategic investment is delivering for GE, its customers and investors.
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, and media content, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.