Submitted by General Electric Company
Brazil is now the world’s seventh largest economy and has become the ninth largest energy consumer in the world. And because it’s creating greater energy demand, it’s also adding further strain on the environment. As one of the leading nations on international climate change negotiations, Brazil has voluntarily committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 39 percent by 2020, relative to 2005 levels.
Aligning with these and other sustainability goals—and demonstrating Latin America’s importance to GE—GE Latin America has introduced its first Citizenship Report for the region, including versions for Brazil and Mexico. The report provides a broad vision of GE’s recent sustainability initiatives and the impact of company decisions and operations, mapping and identifying actions and challenges guided by three pillars of the GE Citizenship framework: people, planet and economy.
“Brazil, for instance, has experienced rapid economic change in recent years, which has led to new business opportunities but also to significant sustainability challenges,” says Reinaldo Garcia, President & CEO of GE Latin America. “Our global business strategy responds to these local priorities. Publishing this sustainability profile is part of this undertaking and of our willingness to demonstrate our dedication to Brazil’s sustainable development.”
One tangible example of this effort is the construction of GE’s fifth Global Research Center in Rio de Janeiro. Expected to employ 400 researchers and engineers at full capacity, the facility already has 80 researchers working on developing technological solutions in the oil and gas, bioenergy, mining, rail, aviation and healthcare industries. The Research Center will also feature a Crotonville Rio Learning Center that will train GE employees, partners and customers.
This regionalization effort began by identifying social, environmental and economic challenges most material to GE in the region, and incorporating sustainability principles into the local business strategy, processes and culture.
GE Latin America consulted with external stakeholders in Brazil, including key customers, trade associations, environmental agencies, NGOs and governments, to learn about their perceptions and expectations of GE’s sustainability practices.
Through these engagements, the company identified five strategic sustainability topics, which have become the focus of local efforts:
Examples of key initiatives in these areas are outlined in the report. These include:
Increasing Employee Volunteerism
In addition, GE Latin America is working to improve the quality of employee-based volunteer programs and GE Foundation-funded initiatives by aligning social investment and community engagement efforts with the challenges facing the surrounding communities in Latin America.
In 2012, for example, the GE Foundation donated more than US $260,000 to four partners in Brazil in the areas of health, education and public policy. Through its partnership with Junior Achievement, GE also helped thousands of young people gain access to work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy programs.
Additionally, 161 GE employees contributed nearly 1,900 hours of their time to work with 1,016 students across 10 cities in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
The idea for the sustainability report is to reach not only employees and partners, but all kind of stakeholders, such as commercial associations, universities, new employees and others interested in sustainable development and GE’s contribution. Content is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified technology and financial services company. GE operates in more than 150 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. GE works on things that matter. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE's approach to corporate citizenship and to business are driven by a common understanding of the role we can playâ€¦.the best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest global challenges.
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