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As It Polishes Green Image, GE Fights EPA February 14, 2007

Posted by silviamocanu07 in Organizational Environment, transportation.

The article that I have chosen for this week discusses General Electric’s new marketing campaign meant to create the image of being environmentally-friendly for the company (Link: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB117133508179906754-QHVlYvRMniiRmAHU7nheuaWNKy4_20080213.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top). However, this directly contradicts with GE’s actions to weaken smog controls for railroad locomotives in rules that are soon to be proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. GE currently dominates the $2 billion dollar North American locomotive market and it seeks to exercise its influence in order to avoid the additional costs associated with new EPA regulations.

I believe that this case is directly associated with one of our previous class discussions related to external organization environment. In this case, regulations are changing, and despite claims of attemptingto portray an image of being concerned with the environment, GE is not adapting to these changes, but rather it seeks to eliminate them. The pro-environment marketing campaign is a reaction to consumer pressures; however, GE proves that it is not consistent its approach, but rather hypocritical. The company wants the environmentally-friendly image that will bring in more customers, while at the same time it wants to evade the costs associated with actually producing more environmentally-safe locomotives.

I believe that this dual approach will hurt their public image and, potentially, their revenues in the long-run. GE is not being consistent is its policies and this will not benefit it. What do you think about GE’s approach? Do you think that this duality means that they are deceiving their customers?



1. Stacey Swift - February 21, 2007

I agree. I think this could end up hurting GE if consumers find out they are following through with their apparent concern with the environment. GE is trying to portray themselves as environmentally friendly when the are in fact not. At a time where being concerned about the environment is becoming more trendy, it is not fair for GE to try to use that to its advantage when it is not in fact truly concerned. They reaping the benefits of appearing to be concerned about the environment as well as the benefits of avoiding costs necessary to adhere with the EPA regulations.

2. Elaine - February 23, 2007

A case such as this can have a company lose complete credibility from its customers. If they are not honest with one aspect of their company’s motives, why should we trust them with anything else they claim to do? Using a benevolent trend as a selling point is entirely selfish when it is untrue. If they know what’s best for their company, they should start looking for ways to coincide with what they state and begin producing environmentally-friendly locomotives.

3. Janine - February 25, 2007

Where I grew up in MA, there was a GE plant. In my area, the company is notorious for being plagued with problems. Therefore, when I read this article, let’s just say that I am not surprised. As they stand right now, internationally, GE has a reputable and trusted name. People know and recognize their products. If they want to continue with a relatively positive reputation, then they need to re-evaluate their decisions and remarks and try to remain consistent. Reputability is a major ingredient for an organization’s success, and if GE wants to keep theirs, then they have to learn to follow through on their words. Somewhere out there there is some person who will notice the inconsistency and blow it up in GE’s face.

4. K.C. - February 26, 2007

Are these claims based exclusively upon GE’s locomotive products or is GE as a whole not a very environmentally friendly company? Most companies try to lobby against EPA regulations and many will try anything to change or ease EPA current and future regulations. While GE may not want to comply with EPA regulations, they do seem to portray environmentally friendly products. In terms of pollution, I wonder how other locomotive producers compare to GE locomotives.

5. Jordi - March 28, 2007

It would be nice to have a direct quotation from somewhere about the locomotive and the marketing campaigns. The two ideas are good to include, but don’t link up very clearly in text.

Good to bring up discussion of org environment.

What factors would influence whether GE decides to engage with stakeholders versus change the rules of the game?

Are locomotives, as is, better than trucks for pollution?

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