What’s Our “Ecomagination” Strategy?

Twice this week I heard stories from sustainability consultants about clients who were seeking help in creating their own version of an Ecomagination strategy. Ecomagination, as you probably know well, is the name for General Electric’s strategy to develop and market products with superior environmental performance.

Ecomagination has been a smashing success for GE. The company says Ecomagination revenues reached $18 billion in 2010. The reputational benefits of this strategy are no doubt great as well, though not for me to quantify.

Citing Ecomagination as an example recalls something a wise colleague of mine used to say when were were industry analysts covering the Internet. When a coworker would say, “Take Amazon.com, for example…” his retort would be, “Amazon is not an example of anything. It is one of a kind.” Very true and useful to keep in mind.

Is Ecomagination an example, a model for other companies, or is it one of a kind? To be sure, lots of other companies have developed environmental strategies centered on developing or reclassifying products as environmentally friendly. Chemicals maker BASF, for instance, reports that 2010 revenues of its “climate protection products” were €7.7 billion. The Eco Options line of retailer The Home Depot features some 3,900 products, though the company does not report Eco Options revenue separately.

Does every company have an blockbuster ecoimagination strategy inside, just waiting to emerge? Or is this just for the few? What do you think? (And please show your work.)



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