Public Policy

Public Policy

The GE Foundation has built a legacy of applying our best resources—people, ideas, talent and enthusiasm—to make our communities stronger all over the world.

We set out to foster the development of solutions that could bring about collaboration among NGOs, businesses, governments and civil society, in order to address public policy needs. Using our human and financial capital, we have supported some of the leading nongovernmental organizations that are working to resolve the most challenging and pressing public policy dilemmas confronting the global business community.

Through these active partnerships, we seek to inform discussions by promoting thoughtful civil discourse grounded in strong, reasoned analysis. We work in partnerships, as we believe that tackling the world’s biggest problems will be possible only if the private sector, governments and industry work together as partners.

GE Foundation’s focus on public policy supports organizations on dilemmas related to human rights, rule of law, the environment and international trade.

For more information on GE’s approach to public policy, please visit our Citizenship website

We believe that respect for human rights is both a responsibility and a sound business strategy, We view human rights as the building block for all other public policy focus areas, including the environment, rule of law and international trade—and our philosophy on this point is reflected in our actions.

When GE Foundation began awarding grants in 2002, the recipients were organizations that were working to foster human rights. Nearly a decade later, human rights remain one of the most significant investments in our public policy portfolio.

Human rights violations are unacceptable, and GE Foundation is committed to advancing the conversation and educating our employees, business partners and communities on the role businesses can play in ending human rights abuses, such as child labor, human trafficking and discrimination.

“GE has joined with other companies to find practical ways of applying the principles established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights within the business community.”

Mark Nordstrom, Senior Labor and Employment Counsel, GE

Please visit our Citizenship website for more information on conflict minerals and on GE’s Human Rights Policy.


With a presence in more than 160 countries—including many emerging economies where democracy is still in its infancy—we view it as our responsibility to, however possible, promote a commitment to the rule of law and ensure that its roots are powerful enough to survive well into the next generation of leaders.

We do this not only to support our business goals or drive broader economic growth, but also as part of a global public policy agenda that is squarely focused on providing local communities and governments with the tools and resources they need to build their own foundations for economic growth and prosperity.

In emerging markets especially, adherence to the rule-of-law principle fosters a level playing field for businesses to compete, and creates a predictable and transparent legal and regulatory environment that stimulates investment, trade and economic growth. It also places a premium on protecting the integrity of the rule of law itself, and more importantly, protecting the rights of citizens.

GE’s day-to-day experiences around the world testify to the critical importance of the rule of law. We believe societies that have strong, predictable and transparent legal institutions engender confidence, investment and growth. By contrast, those with weak rule of law tend to lag in economic development and political stability. GE supports the development of laws and legal institutions that are hallmarks of strong rule of law.

“We view it as our responsibility to, however possible, promote a commitment to the rule of law and ensure that its roots are powerful enough to survive well into the next generation of leaders.”

Brackett B. Denniston, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GE

For more information on Rule of Law, please visit our Citizenship website.


GE supports the promotion of globalization and international trade. GE has long advocated for the free flow of goods, services, capital and people, and we will continue to do so going forward.

International trade has served to raise standards of living in both developed and developing economies, facilitate the flow of ideas and people, spur innovation, strengthen the rule of law and lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. As a global company, GE is dependent on an open and durable international trade network, supported by a fair and transparent regime of international trade rules. We all share a responsibility to make meaningful contributions to protect and strengthen the international trading system.

“Our public policy agenda is rooted in the belief that in helping to build a better future for people around the world, we can ultimately make the world a better place to both live and do business.”

Karan Bhatia, Vice President and Senior Counsel for International Law and Public Policy, GE

For more information on strengthening the global economy, please visit our Citizenship website.


GE strives to work with businesses, industries and governments around the world to understand the enormity of the environmental challenges we collectively face, and to provide the tools needed to solve them. As a global company, GE knows that these challenges are far more complex than simply getting the right resources into the hands of the people who need them most. GE understands its role in markets and in society, and its responsibilities to both. We know that finding new and better solutions to today’s most pressing environmental challenges, such as those posed by climate change, can benefit our world and our business.

The solutions we develop today must not just anticipate the needs of a more populous planet; they must also incorporate strategies to address the underlying factors—like climate change—that will exacerbate the effects of water shortages, flooding and other resource-based challenges that future generations will continue to face. Our public policy grants are focused on finding solutions to climate change, water scarcity and environmental health and safety.

“Our mission—to help businesses, industries and governments around the world understand the enormity of the environmental challenges we collectively face, and to provide the tools needed to solve them—has never been more relevant.”

Ann R. Klee, Vice President of Corporate Environmental Programs, GE

For more information on climate and energy, please visit our Citizenship website.