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Jeffrey R. Immelt Chairman and CEO

Business must now lead and not depend on government to be a beacon for sustainability. We must move on our own. It is no longer enough for companies to focus on their direct footprint, they must think about what types of jobs and opportunities they are creating for society.

The global landscape is changing. Digital is creating world-changing innovations but also disrupting industry and how people work. At the same time, economic nationalism is rising around the world, largely resulting from parts of society not benefitting from years of increased globalization. Sustainability has also evolved. Business must now lead and not depend on government to be a beacon for sustainability. We must move on our own. It is no longer enough for companies to focus on their direct footprint, they must think about what types of jobs and opportunities they are creating for society. Tackling environmental challenges, affordable healthcare and energy access remain critical but have become engrained in our business operations. Right now, we are challenging ourselves to retrain workers, provide new skills for the digital age and make investments for high-quality jobs in communities around the world. This is an imperative not only for our company but also for the 180 countries where we operate.

Sustainability isn’t an initiative for us; it is integrated into our core business strategy:

  • Rethinking Skills Development: GE spends $1 billion a year on development and skills training. We are working to ensure that this training equips employees and communities to benefit from digital and advancements in manufacturing.

  • Promoting Diversity: We have long seen the benefits of diversity across our company. This year we set a goal to create a global workforce of 20,000 technical women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) roles by 2020 and recruit 50 percent women into all our entry-level technical leadership programs.

  • Investing for Affordable Healthcare: More than 5.8 billion people still lack access to quality, affordable healthcare. To help find solutions, GE Healthcare has committed $300 million to launch Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, which will bring disruptive technologies to healthcare providers across emerging markets.

  • Pushing Innovation in Energy: Investing in clean energy is good for business, job creation, the economy and the world. Last year we invested $2.7 billion in cleaner technology solutions across fossil fuels, renewables and the grid through our Ecomagination strategy.

  • Meeting Our Environmental Goals: We have set ambitious goals to reduce our freshwater use and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from a 2011 baseline by 2020. We have made big strides by applying GE innovations in on-site solar and LED lighting at numerous facilities.

We can’t solve these issues alone. However, we will continue do our part through partnerships across industry, government, education and civil society to ensure we are preparing our communities to thrive in this changing world.