GE’s Blueprint for Big Business and the Sustainable Development Goals

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Global industrial conglomerate General Electric is no stranger to innovation — the company has pioneered many of the transformative technologies of the past 100 years. So it may be well-suited for a new shift that is underway, one in which businesses will align their operations with the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals.  

As the meetings around the United Nations General Assembly affirmed, the new global goals have strong buy-in from the private sector. But what does this mean in practice? And just what will it look like for a business to tackle one of these goals?

The picture will vary by business and goal to be sure. But any effort to align with the SDGs will likely involve some sort of innovation — either in operations and planning, new investment markets, products and services or partnerships forged.

GE Healthcare, the company’s $18 billion health care technology division, is an example of this alignment and innovation. It recently established a new organization within its health division, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, that will focus on delivering low-cost technologies and improving health outcomes exclusively in emerging markets.

The $300 million investment in SHS, while small for a company of GE’s size, is particularly geared towards SDG 3 — ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. But it also aligns with goals on poverty reduction, sanitation and economic growth. The new unit presents many opportunities but also prompts important questions on partnerships, community engagement and how to execute on its purpose-driven strategy.

Devex sat down with GE Sustainable Healthcare Solutions chief executive Terri Bresenham to understand how they are planning for and approaching this new task. Here are the highlights of the conversation:


Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
poverty alleviation