General Electric in India: Global Corporate Citizenship from a Local Perspective

Introduction

Corporate citizenship, or corporate social responsibility (CSR), is a global concept increasingly adopted by companies around the world. At the same time, good corporate citizenship becomes truly meaningful only at the local level where a company’s commitment to CSR principles translates into concrete actions that affect local communities.

In this interview with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), General Electric (GE) leaders speak about GE’s corporate social responsibility initiatives in India. At their offices in Delhi, Ari Sarker of GE Capital India and the leader of the New Delhi GE Volunteers program and Sanjeev Jain of GE Capital America and the leader of GE Volunteers in India answered questions about GE’s view of good corporate citizenship, from the individual employee level and on upwards to the multinational conglomerate level.

Multinational corporations, just like any company, ultimately have an inherent interest and responsibility in engaging with and improving the communities in which they work through active corporate citizenship programs. By improving these communities, multinationals can localize their operations, attract the best employees, and take advantage of a better understanding of the local market.

GE, with over 300,000 employees around the world, has been at the forefront of new trends in corporate citizenship. GE has strong a commitment to laying the foundations of corporate citizenship in emerging markets, strict internal controls that enforce compliance with local regulations and clear governance procedures, and initiatives such as the Ecomagination growth strategy, which focuses on green product manufacturing – such as wind turbines and LED lighting. With these undertakings, GE has demonstrated that you can make money, make it ethically, and make a difference.

The GE Volunteers program is of a particular interest. It is, to a large extent, an employee-driven CSR initiative that aims to address local community issues through the engagement and expertise of its staff. GE Volunteers projects improve life in the communities where GE employees live and work.

Ari Sarker is Senior Vice-President and Head of Corporate Finance for GE Capital India. He has 16 years of international experience in accounting and audit, corporate finance, and private equity in markets around the world. He holds degrees from Delhi University and Cardiff University. He is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He leads the New Delhi GE Volunteers program.

Sanjeev Jain is a Business Leader at GE Money Servicing (GEMS – a unit of GE Capital Americas), having built it from a 600-member team in Hyderabad, India in 2004 to a 3,000-member team with 5 global servicing centers. Sanjeev’s 10 years of experience at GE include roles in six sigma, service delivery, operations, and relationship management for India, Mexico, and the United States. He leads the GE Volunteers group for India, with 3,000 active volunteers across 5 chapters engaged in 65 projects in education, health care, environment, and community development. Sanjeev holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai.

The views expressed above do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) or General Electric. CIPE grants permission to reprint, translate, and/or publish original articles from its Economic Reform Feature Service provided that (1) proper attribution is given to the original author and to CIPE and (2) CIPE is notified where the article is placed and a copy is provided to CIPE’s Washington, DC office.

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