What is the Triple
Bottom Line

WHAT IS THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE?

The Triple Bottom Line (also known as the 3Ps, TBL or 3BL) refers to the balancing equation of people, planet,and profit.The idea is that, in addition to profits, businesses should also take into consideration their social and environmental impact.

The term "Triple Bottom Line" was coined by John Elkington, a well-known entrepreneur and management consultant, with the goal of measuring a corporation's performance beyond it's financial success in order to also incorporate its impact on the community and in our planet. The theory is based on the principle that companies that do not evaluate their social and environmental costs are failing to account for the full cost of doing business.

The tenet of the Triple Bottom Line is that the economic sector can take steps to ensure that financial growth lifts up the community and the environment, while still being able to increase the monetary value of an enterprise or industry. The TBL concept has similarities to practices of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability, so you’ll likely see the terms used side by side. 

sustainability for your bottom line

PLANET: ENVIRONMENTAL TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

The "planet" component measures a company's environmental impact. Managing an organization's environmental bottom line involves controlling, monitoring and reporting its level of consumption, waste and emissions. This can include measuring it's negative impact (eg. carbon footprint, use of natural resources, etc), but also the positive (eg. reforestation, removal of waste, etc>)

Measuring environmental sustainability can be a time-consuming process,  which is why several companies choose to dedicate an entire department or committee to their sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. There are also external CSR service providers and software that can help.

Below are some of the metrics used by the Global Reporting Initiative for measuring, monitoring and reporting on a company's environmental triple bottom line: 

  • Energy consumption (% of fossil fuels, electricity and/or renewable)
  • Water consumption
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions
  • Amount of recycled material used
  • Amount of waste generated
  • Impact in land use/ land cover
  • Hazardous waste management
People planting trees

PEOPLE: SOCIAL BOTTOM LINE

The social component of the Triple Bottom Line measures a company's level of social responsibility. The social dimensions of a community include measures of health, quality of life, equity, social capital, education and access to resources.

Below are some examples of social variables that can be measured:

  • Median household income
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average commute time
  • Violent crime per capita
  • Female labor participation
  • Health-adjusted life expectancy
  • Relative poverty
Trees in the city

PROFIT: ECONOMIC BOTTOM LINE

The conventional financial bottom line is the traditional concept of profit and refers to measuring and reporting the flow of money. Generally this can be measured through income, expenditures, employment rate and so on, 

However, in the triple bottom line approach, economic capital should take into account the business impact on the economic environment. The idea is that a company that has a positive impact on the economy, by contributing to the economic health of the network it belongs to, will be successful in the long-run. 

Here are some examples of economic variables that can be measured:

  • Job growth percentages
  • Establishment size
  • Establishment churn
  • Average incomes
  • Cost of underemployment
  • Employment distribution by sector
  • Revenue by sector

SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX

A slightly different version of a Triple Bottom Line is the Social Progress Indexand it applies to everyone across the globe, not just the entrepreneurs. The Social Progress Index 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 profitare interwoven into the above mentioned categories rather than each one standing on its own.

This isn't surprising, given that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) themselves really demonstrate an interconnectedness that allows for improvement made in one area, to have a positive impact in another.

MEET YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL BOTTOM LINE

Looking to incorporate the Triple Bottom Line and become a more sustainable business? Sign up your business and become an official One Tree Planted reforestation partner today!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. Today, we're raising funds to jumpstart forest fire recovery in British Columbia. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Restore landscapes damaged by a historic season of wildfires
  • Create habitat for iconic biodiversity like the moose and grizzly bear
  • Support old-growth management areas to maintain complex ecosystems
  • This reforestation initiative is helping to restore the landscape in British Columbia after the Hanceville fire burned over 590,000 acres in 2017 and natural regeneration has not occurred. The fire has impacted the forest, soils, riparian ecosystems, wildlife, and water quality. Local indigenous communities have seen their ability to hunt and gather food drastically altered. But your support will go a long way! The goal of planting trees here is to not only re-establish a healthy forest, but also to plant species that will be resilient in the face of climate change. Thank you so much for your support of healthy forests! 🌲
  • Planting trees will catalyze the process of returning the area to a forested state. Newly planted trees will begin the process of sequestering atmospheric carbon, and over time improve the hydrological benefits of the forest. The ecosystems that have been greatly simplified by extreme fire conditions will once again become complex ecosystems, This project will also create habitat for many local wildlife species including mule deer, moose, black and grizzly bear, wolves, sandhill cranes, various raptors, songbirds, and small mammals.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • B.C.'s rich forest diversity includes more than 40 different species of native trees, with some of Canada’s most interesting and valuable tree species. In this project, we made efforts to maximize species diversity, including the following species: Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, hybrid spruce, ponderosa pine, trembling aspen.

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