GE CEO Jeff Immelt thinks the worth of his company’s Ecomagination shows the value of investing in the environment.
“You can sit here and argue ideologically as long as you like,” Immelt told NBC broadcasting legend Tom Brokaw. “Four billion in 2004. Eighteen billion in 2008. You can’t argue about that. That’s commerce, that’s profit, that’s green.”
Brokaw and Immelt were seated on a circular stage in the center of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ocean Life. Eight hundred of Conservation International’s supporters were gathered around them in the shadow of the museum’s life-size blue whale replica, hanging on every word of their candid conversation.
The event, Conservation International’s 11th New York fundraising dinner, also featured New York Times columnist Tom Friedman reading a chapter from his upcoming book, Hot, Flat and Crowded. Dinner chair Mary Kathryn Navab also took the stage to speak of Conservation International’s urgent need for the crowd’s renewed commitment. A video featuring Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler and Seth Myers in their Weekend Update characters put a humorous spin on the need for all of us to do our part by living green.
Perhaps Andrew Robertson, CEO of advertising agency BBDO, articulated the evening’s message most eloquently. BBDO was the agency GE turned to for Ecomagination, and their work for CI includes the popular new Wax PSA starring Harrison Ford.
After showing the PSA, Robertson announced, “Our spectacular undertaking is to save the world’s forests, which is the single most effective thing that we can do.” With GE, BBDO and the New York community among our allies, there’s reason for confidence that CI will be successful in that undertaking.