Why GE, Coca-Cola, and IBM Are Getting Into the Water Business

Apr 29, 2011 9:45 AM ET
Summary: 

This article discusses how organizations are now realizing that water management is fast becoming a key strategic tool. Companies are starting to gather the kind of information that lets them measure not just their water use and their water costs, but also their water efficiency and water productivity, as well as revenue and profit from these efforts.

GE Water is an ambitious new division of the multinational company, with 8,000 employees at 50 manufacturing facilities worldwide and revenue of approximately $2.5 billion.  
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Water is becoming a high-stakes business where there's money to be made everywhere you look -- from greasy wool to microchips.

In the rangeland of Australia, sheep get frightfully dirty. They roam the outback among all manner of plants, trees, and scrub; they loll in the dirt; they sleep on the ground; they roll in their own poop. They shower only if it happens to rain.
 
So when these sheep get sheared -- and Australia is still the largest producer of wool in the world -- the fresh wool is grubby. Raw wool is called "greasy wool," because in addition to dirt, the wool is coated with the sheep's natural protection, lanolin. A specialized industry exists to clean it. The big Michell Wool scouring plant in Salisbury, a suburb north of Adelaide, uses almost a megaliter of water (264,000 gallons) a day -- about what 750 families use.

Continue reading the original article on Fast Company about why companies such as GE and Coca-Cola are wanting to penetrate the water business.

 

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.
 
Citizenship at GE is more than a program or a set of good intentions - it is a full-time commitment built upon cultural behaviors and actions. These actions are integrated with business strategy and have defined goals, strategies and metrics that make it actionable and accountable.
 
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