GE decided to create a reporting strategy that would communicate a global, companywide approach while also encompassing its diverse business lines: GE Money, Commercial Finance, NBC Universal, Infrastructure, Industrial, and Healthcare.
BSR partnered with GE to create three Citizenship reports (2005, 2006, and 2007) that present for stakeholders the areas in which GE could make the most significant contributions to sustainable development. Key aspects of this strategy included:
- Understanding that GE can make a contribution to sustainable development not just from managing its own operations but, more significantly, by understanding the way in which its products and services can address social and environmental needs such as healthcare, climate change, and the need for clean water
- Implementing materiality assessments for some GE businesses to understand which issues presented the greatest risks and opportunities, and where each business could make the greatest contribution through its products and services
- Identifying key areas for improvement (such as human rights policy) and establishing forward-looking commitments
- Identifying key performance indicators and highlighting new metrics (such as waste and water use) that needed to be tracked
GE is consistently ranked as one of the world's most admired companies. By taking a leadership approach to its reporting, GE is demonstrating how business models can be built so that they create value for both society and shareholders. The GE report is also frequently cited as a best practice benchmark by other companies eager to adopt leading approaches to CSR.