So you’ve heard this term bandied about, but just What IS The Triple Bottom Line - and what does it mean for you?
“TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE” was first coined in 1994 referring to “The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business” It refers to the 3 Ps –
- PROFIT (Corporate - P & L):
- PEOPLE (Staff - how socially responsible both within the organisation and without)
- PLANET (The Environment –impact of usage, product and pay back)
Profit refers to the “Traditional Bottom Line”. But today’s companies take more into consideration in order to count themselves as successful – People
This is not just about the “feel good factor”. TBL enables companies to fully assess their overall performance and potential impact to their business from
their interactions with their staff, the local and broader community and with the physical environment.
For example, a company may be making the perfect product with great profit margins. This could be pointless if no one will buy from them because either
they or one of their suppliers is known for exploiting underpaid workers or using child labour or polluting other communities.
As seen recently, the cost of an environmental accident can go beyond clean up and downtime costs into rehabilitation, legal costs, compensation etc. If
companies are guilty of taking advantage or not managing their environmental impact sufficiently, customer backlash and negative marketing campaigns
can and will impact their profitability greatly.
In this day of SOCIAL Media, such backlashes happen daily and with HUGE impact potentially covering the whole global community!
A broad and wide future focus is essential for the long term viability of a business. It is not just about PROFITS!
Then there is the issue of Preferred Employers. Today with greater social consciousness a major part of global thinking, companies who do not manage their
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE can find themselves in the firing line and have great difficulty securing good staff! If a company is seen to fall short on the
“Planet” side, many employees will not want to work with them. Similarly, if they have a poor record on “Staff management or staff development and
flexibility within the workplace”, they will have difficulty securing top employees.
Everyone wants to back a WINNER – and the WINNER is managed a different way today!
Today employees are more mindful of the Environmental and Social impacts their potential employer may have! Especially younger generations entering the
The Triple Bottom Line concept developed by John Elkington in 1994 has changed the way businesses, non-profits and governments measure sustainability and
performances. Beyond the foundation of measuring sustainability on three fronts—people, planet and profits—the flexibility of the TBL allows
organisations to apply the concept in a manner suitable to their specific needs, industries and products.
A company must address activities in all THREE areas of Sustainability.
Economic sustainability activities which focus on business efficiency, productivity and profit. The financial bottom line. (PROFIT)
Social sustainability activities which focus on maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with employees, customers and the
community. This creates benefits in terms of positive profile with customer, employee and community. (PEOPLE)
Environmental sustainability activities which focus on the impact of resource usage, hazardous substances, waste and emissions
on the physical environment. Measure of a company’s carbon footprint, greenhouse gases and ecosystems. (PLANET)
Every business can introduce measurements in all three areas – not just manufacturing or transport related businesses etc. For example, SERVICES oriented
businesses can still be seen to implement sustainability or consideration in all three areas by their contribution to other schemes or reductions in
their usage of utilities, resources, etc.
There can be benefits to a company taking a TBL approach, with many Governments today offering tax deductions etc. across all three areas of Sustainability.
Many businesses and non-profit organisations have adopted the TBL sustainability framework to evaluate their performance, and a similar approach has
gained currency with governments at the federal, state and local levels. A measurement of their performance in these areas can create greater business
“value” (For sale).
There are challenges to putting the TBL into practice. These challenges include measuring each of the three categories, finding applicable data and calculating
a project or policy's contribution to sustainability.
These challenges aside, the TBL framework allows organizations to evaluate the ramifications of their decisions from a truly long-term perspective.
Recognition and application of the TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE is certainly the way of the future for business and for employment – it “MAY” become a “Certifiable”
requirement of business and business partnerships into the future. It is definitely something that should be taken into account by companies wishing
to grow into the “New” future.
Southside Staffing Solutions has been propounding the implementation of the TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE to our clients and contemporaries for many years! We enjoy
our contribution to the Community – both local and international – and we are pleased that our continued business with our business partners, clients
and job seekers enables us to sustain our input into all three areas of the TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE!
Article by Teri Moxham of Southside Staffing Solutions.