Jack Welch on Green Products

Jack Welch and his wife, former HBR editor Suzi, were at the 92nd St Y in New York last night in an on-stage interview with the editor of BusinessWeek. It was great seeing them in person, and Jack’s persona was especially refreshing: large doses of common sense spoken with brutal honesty.

One point he made stood out. Because his politics are “right of center” and he’s obviously pro-business, he’s not quick to believe in global warming without more evidence; he took the time to cite scientists who have refuted Al Gore’s statements. So for anyone taking an intellectual position on the issue, he said, it’s very difficult. But for business people the strategy is clear: stop denying this might happen and prepare for it by developing products and manufacturing that are cleaner and greener than the competition. He was emphatic that this is the only rational way to proceed, and ended up sounding like a stronger voice for green innovation than someone else with an obvious bias.