A Different Kind of Triple Bottom Line

by Leah Feor September 29, 2016

 Global GoalsIn the world of business, the Triple Bottom Line or TBL refers to balancing an equation of people, planet, and profit.

It’s a positive movement forward that the economic sector can make to ensure that financial growth lifts up the community and the environment while increasing the monetary value of an enterprise or industry.

I am a firm believer in the TBL framework, and encourage entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes to incorporate it into their business plan.  It has similarities to practices of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability, so you’ll likely see the terms used side by side.

Today however, I’d like to tell you about a slightly different version of a Triple Bottom Line.  One that impacts and applies to everyone across the globe, not just the entrepreneurs.  It’s called the Social Progress Index, and it breaks down the UN’s Global Goals into three separate categories, or “bottom lines”.

  • Basic Human Needs
  • Foundations of Wellbeing
  • Opportunity

Though they look and sound different than the original TBL, they are similar in many ways.  With the Social Progress Index, people, planet, and profit are interwoven into the above mentioned categories rather than each one standing on its own.  This does not surprise me given that the Goals themselves really demonstrate an interconnectedness that allows for improvement made in one area, to have a positive impact in another.

Having just celebrated the one year anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations and partners across the planet really made some noise.    The reason?  It’s to make the world aware of the Global Goals while creating a Call to Action for individual citizens to come together to help make sure our governments are working towards achieving the 17 goals and their 169 targets.

In order to understand whether the goals are being achieved, even if just slightly, the organization behind the Social Progress Index, Social Progress Imperative (SPI) teamed up with Global Citizen and Global Goals to release report cards on an annual basis to share insights from every country and the from The World as a whole.  

Hot off the press are the People’s Report Cards that cover 222 individual countries plus the global cumulative.  In just one short year since the Goals were established, The World saw a bump in their grade.  From a C- to a C+. This shows both improvement and opportunity.  In order to achieve the Global Goals, an A is required on the People’s Report Card. 

Although we have some time to get there, with 14 years to go before the 2030 deadline, we’ve also got our work cut out for us.  If you are interested in learning more to know where and how you can play a part in lifting your community up, check out this great TED Talk by Michael Green, CEO of SPI. 


 Did you celebrate Global Goals Week?  Comment below or connect on social media, we'd love to hear from you! 

Leah Feor
Leah Feor


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