The Business of Doing Good

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This is the time of year when many people look back to what they have done so far to get a handle on goals for the coming year. Businesses also engage in the same year-end assessment, this time with greater focus on the things they have been doing right and how to improve on aspects that need more work. 

For a growing number of businesses, the appraisal goes beyond financial and operational metrics, having gotten on board the sustainability agenda that is out to make the world a better and more equitable place. This 21st-Century ethos prioritizes 3Ps—profit (making money), people (generating employment and ensuring the welfare of workers and community), and the planet (ensuring responsible and sustainable products and operations).

As the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), targeted for completion in 2015, gave way to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2016, companies in many parts of the world have stepped up as game changers in the business and sustainability landscape, often with notable results.

They have also been proving to be the key to sustainability and its broader goals, given their products’ attention to social and environmental issues that in many instances resolve sustainability challenges.

Filippo Veglio, a managing director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said that while business may view the UN’s SDG agenda as a cost rather than an economic opportunity, he noted that about 80% of CEOs believe that demonstrating a commitment to societal purpose is a business differentiator, while 87% of CEOs see that the SDGs provide an opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainable value creation.

Similarly, Richard Welford, chairman of CSR Asia, is convinced that the best way to achieve the SDGs “is through a model of shared value.” This, he added, uses a virtuous cycle to maximize social and economic impact, unleashing greater innovation, value creation, and scale.

Samsung Electronics, a leading South Korean multinational electronics company, sets the bar for energy-efficient products and meets the high standards in energy regulations. Its products reduce power consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts generated in the use of these products. The company’s annual average power consumption improved by 47% from 2008 levels in eight major products: phones, notebook PCs, TVs, monitors, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and printers.

A recipient of Green Technology certification in Korea for products with high energy efficiency, Samsung has developed various energy-saving technologies, low-power SoC design LED TVs, software for the power-saving mode on PCs using a chipset motion mode control, and reduction of power consumption for the sleep mode on printers and multifunctional devices.

On the other hand, GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric (GE) that provides medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, and other medical products and solutions, is well known for making available inexpensive medical devices for distribution in both emerging and developed communities.

Its Vivid T8 cardiovascular ultrasound device, for example, features quantitative features, stress echo and TEE capabilities in an affordable echo system. GE Healthcare has enhanced the reach of the Vivid T8 by combining the established cardiac imaging capabilities of GE Vivid systems with shared services performance of the company's Logiq systems. The Vivid T8 cardiovascular ultrasound system is rugged, reliable, robust and rich with features—and, more important, affordable and convenient.

GE Healthcare’s Vscan, a handheld, pocket-size visualization tool powered by ultrasound technology, allows doctors a quick look inside their patients—immediately and non-invasively. By providing real-time black-and-white anatomic and color-coded blood-flow images at the touch of a button, Vscan is ideal for use in far-flung places with limited access to health care.

Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), a Filipino-owned global electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider to key original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), has also been advocating shared value. IMI believes that maximizing the competitive value of solving social problems in new customers and markets, cost savings, talent retention, among others, will set it apart from the competition and redound to public good. Its work on car safety electronics, pollution reduction systems, home security devices, and medical diagnostic devices is part of the corporate vision to “be part of a global structure of products and services that will enhance and future-proof people’s lives,” according to IMI Chief Executive Officer Arthur Tan.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2016 issue of SMT Magazine, click here.


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