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

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. For Treecember, we're planting trees that support a global forest fire recovery fund. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Reforest lands damaged by record-setting fires
  • Support healthy habitat for iconic biodiversity
  • Plant tree species that will help reduce future fire impact
  • This holiday season, we’re planting trees in areas around the world that have been severely affected by forest fires and aren't able to recover a healthy ecosystem on their own. The most common naturally-caused wildfires occur during droughts or dry weather, and under these circumstances, trees and other vegetation are converted to flammable fuel. Human-caused forest fires can be a result of various activities like unregulated slash and burn agriculture, equipment failure or engine sparks, and discarded cigarettes.

    After wildfires, reforestation is essential in areas where the fire intensity burned off available seed supply within the soil, and/or where there are not enough healthy trees still growing and producing new seeds nearby. Reforestation starts once professional assessments have been made to determine where human intervention would be the most ecologically beneficial. Help restore these vital ecosystems by planting a tree. 🌿
  • Every year, forest fires are increasing in size and severity, damaging vital ecosystems and creating a need for millions of trees. Some major consequences of forest fires include significant loss of wildlife, loss of vegetation, soil erosion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    With so much fire damage, reforestation is essential to catalyze the environmental recovery process. The trees are carefully planted to prevent invasive species from colonizing burn scars and restore quality habitat for native biodiversity. One Tree Planted is connecting with on-the-ground partners to establish viable reforestation projects when the recently affected regions are ready for planting. This fund will contribute to planting projects in British Columbia, Idaho, Ghana, Portugal, and beyond. Let's get to work! 🌲
  • 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.
  • To maximize the impact of your donation, our partners on the ground will determine the most appropriate species of tree and shrubs. We only plant native tree species that will restore the local ecosystem, re-establish wildlife habitat, and reduce the likelihood of future fires.

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