What do you advise leaders at GE to do about satisfying customers who are not so environmentally conscious?
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General Electric Company is a mega-company that seeks to expand its business and gain a larger share of the market. The issues of global warming due to the emission of carbon dioxide threaten the company’s lucrative business of selling steam engines that use coals and petroleum products because environmentalists advised the United States government to limit carbon dioxide emission (Kennedy, 2007, p. 9). The General Electric Company is at crossroads on whether to satisfy its economic growth and customers’ needs or comply with the environmentalists in the production of environmentally friendly products. Since the priority of the company is to make economic sense in all its investments, the company leaders can design both environmentally friendly and unfriendly products to satisfy their customers and attain huge profits for the company to grow. The customers will have a range of products to choose from to satisfy their needs. It will be upon the customers to decide on the kind of products they need depending on sanctions imposed by their respective governments.
What is your opinion of the ethics of GE leadership, which is engaging in environmentally friendly activities while at the same time selling environmentally unfriendly products?
The leadership of the General Electric Company does not perceive the issue of global warming as a moral issue since it has political and economic aspects in it. The chairperson of the company, Jeffrey Immelt argues that solution to the climate change needs political intervention and environmental conservation projects must have an economic sense for effective implementation. According to Thomas, “business is and will be driven by revenues and profits … if Green did not hit the bottom line; it would not be easily embraced by business today or tomorrow” (2007, p.11). Since the company aims at making profits and the issue of global warming needs political and economic solutions, then the company does not believe in ethical solutions regarding climate change. Ethically, the company has no definite principles since it engages in the selling of environmentally unfriendly products and ironically advocates for the production and use of environmentally friendly products.
How should Immelt deal with GE managers who do not agree with his concern about reducing CO2 emissions?
Some managers in the General Electric Company are opposing the efforts of Jeffrey Immelt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because they do not believe that the emissions cause global warming. Since Jeffrey Immelt believes that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, he has vowed to transform the company into a corporate leader in addressing the issue of global warming. As a chairperson, Jeffrey Immelt should call for a general meeting to make resolutions that are binding to all managers and allay fears that limiting carbon dioxide emissions would severely hurt the company. The issue of opposition should be amicably addressed, as Jeffrey Immelt does not differ significantly with the opposing managers because they all believe that environmental conservation efforts should make economic sense, global warming is not a moral issue, and that the economic flow of the company should be constant. Since his beliefs relate to those of other managers who are objecting to his bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, he does not need to penalize them for they all advocate for the common interests of the company.
What is your opinion of the level of social responsibility shown by Immelt and most likely his executive team at GE?
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Although the company seems to show high levels of social responsibility by seeking to become a corporate leader in addressing the issue of global warming and developing and certifying environmentally friendly products, it does all these contributions for the sake of the company’s benefits. Therefore, the level of social responsibility depicted by the company is ironically very low since it does not understand global warming as a moral issue that calls for a moral solution. The executive team holds that the issue of global warming needs political and economic solutions that make economic sense. Therefore, environmental solutions that favor the growth of the company rather than social responsibility drive the decisions and policies of the company.
Kennedy, S. (2007). Does It Pay to Be Green? Plant Services, 1-15.
Thomas, L. (2007). Going Green: How Environmentally Conscious Practices and Products Present a Profitable Future Today. Infor Corporate Journal, 1-15.