What does Citizenship mean in the context of GE Capital? What do you see as GE Capital's main Citizenship risks and opportunities?
For GE Capital, Citizenship means delivering consistent financial performance fairly, responsibly and transparently. We've worked to create products and services that meet our responsible lending and environmental standards, to maintain a strong culture of compliance, and to give our employees the training and tools they need to identify risks early. We've also integrated our commitment to transparency into our financial reporting.
In terms of risks, we are a global company, and we work in a constantly evolving social and environmental context. One major challenge is to ensure our standards are not only rigorous, but also adaptable in the eve changing environment and markets we operate in globally. We are always seeking better ways to identify and manage risk, and we also make sure we have people with the right expertise to help guide our decisions.
Good citizenship makes good business sense. When we underwrite loans and leases, for example, we expect that will have a relationship with that customer throughout the life of the loan, and ideally beyond. We have a stake in our customers' success. It is important that we know our customers well, and that our customers understand the products and services we provide.
What has GE Capital done to integrate ethics and responsibility in the way it develops, markets and services its core consumer products?
We want to offer customers suitable products at market-appropriate rates. We want to use straight forward, simple language and disclose information about fees and interest rates so our customers can make informed decisions.
How do you integrate environmental, social and governance criteria into your financial products and investment decisions?
We promote responsible financing first and foremost by requiring compliance with local law. We've developed strong in-house legal and environmental expertise to help guide our decisions, and to make sure we are meeting industry best practice.
Environmental, social and governance concerns can be especially acute when we are considering project finance in developing countries. When we finance projects in developing countries, we follow the Equator Principles in order to promote compliance with local law and international norms like the World Bank environmental guidelines. We look for opportunities to partner with government organizations that have strong environmental, social and governance values, such as the US Export-Import Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Working with groups that place strong values on environmental, social, and governance criteria helps reinforce our commitment.
How do you provide the right kind of training and incentives to ensure that decisions made globally are consistent with GE's values and Citizenship commitments?
Our sales, risk and legal teams receive regular training to ensure any employees involved in making new loans and managing our portfolios understand key legal requirements, and are familiar with GE's best practices and standards. In each of our businesses, we have experienced leaders in place to provide guidance on environmental, social, and governance issues. These leaders have a minimum of 15 years' experience in the environmental and social area, and are recognized leaders in their profession.