Triple bottom line
what is it?
Rather than focus solely on a business' traditional bottom line (profit), the triple bottom line theory considers people, planet and profit. Meaning businesses need to think about the interactions between their social impact, environmental impact, and profit to be truly successful.
This pillar looks at all of the people involved in an organization, including laborers at all stages of the supply chain, employees, and the wider community. Triple bottom line companies ensure humane working conditions along their supply chain, pay their employees fair wages, and give back to their communities.
The planet piece means that organizations try to minimize their ecological footprint as much as possible. This can include reducing waste, optimizing supply chains, or using renewable energy, to name a few examples.
Of course, all companies want to maximize their profit. The difference in triple bottom line companies is that profit is seen as complementary to the people and planet pillars, instead of as a separate goal. In other words, making positive social and environmental impacts increases financial returns.
THE FUTURE OF TBL
25 Years Ago I Coined the Phrase “Triple Bottom Line.” Here’s Why It’s Time to Rethink It.
John Elkington, creator of the term, warns against the Triple Bottom Line theory being reduced to simply an accounting tool.