These are very frustrating times for those who expect government policy to enable solutions for our economy, environment and energy independence. Today, how can a consumer make a rational economic decision between an electric, hybrid, biofuel or gasoline car if public policy does not include the costs associated with a deep-sea oil well blowout or placing boots on the ground protecting someone else’s oil fields in the price at the pump? How can a consumer make a rational economic choice between solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas and coal if public policy does not include the environmental consequences of mercury and green house gas emissions in the price at the electric meter? How can any consumer figure out what is the right choice among competing fuels if ALL of their fuel choices are subsidized by taxpayers?
But thanks to business leaders like Steve Fludder, Corporate VP in charge of GE’s ecomagination business unit, there is growing evidence that America’s business leaders are moving past current public policy constraints to invest in both cleantech innovations and the creation of manufacturing economies of scale that are producing price competitive solutions for our economy and environment. The following exclusive interview with Fludder explores GE ecomagination’s pursuit of a triple bottom line “value chain of environmental solutions” that is profitable for GE, their customers and consumers.
There are two key “take-aways” for me in this interview. First, GE is putting their money where their mouth is. They invested $1.5 billion in clean technologies in 2009, an amount equal to 30% of the entire 2009 VC investment in cleantech. They plan to invest $10 billion more over the next five years!
The second take-away is a validation that a Green Economic Revolution has begun. Just three years ago going green was viewed as niche market. Today, GE ecomagination’s revenues, $18 billion in 2009, represent 25% of GE’s entire industrial revenues. They have implemented manufacturing economies of scale and have set ambitious plans for doubling ecomagination’s revenues. GE ecomagination is now my newest, and largest, example that the Green Economic Revolution will grow into my economic projection of a $10 trillion global annual revenue economy in sustainable goods and services by 2017.