The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) business concept expands the goal of business from just profit maximizing to include social and environmental goals.
The integration of social and environmental commitments with economic success has created a holistic business model which is able to achieve all three goals simultaneously. While many companies have components of social and environmental programs the Triple Bottom Line takes this concept one step further by fully integrating those components throughout the organization.
Without happy and committed employees it is difficult to achieve economic success or environmental sustainability. Fair treatment of employees and conscious selection of vendors are two ways to integrate good social policy. Encouraging employees professional development can also be a component of a company’s commitment to social responsibility. For example, empowering employees to utilize data, visualization, and graphs to communicate their ideas can help view challenges from multiple perspectives while improving human capital.
Reducing the carbon footprint of your business should be a primary focus of a sustainability policy. In addition to those efforts, donating time to conservation and environmental protection are other options to integrate sustainable practice within your organization. It may be worthwhile to implement a sustainability vision to ensure all employees understand and can refer to what sustainability means to your business specifically. Making a long term commitment that is ingrained into the culture of the company is the first step of the TBL concept.
Economic performance does not have to be sacrificed to achieve the sustainability and social success. Demonstrating innovative business initiatives and developing services and products which encompass the TBL model is a strong way to attract a diverse range of customers and investors.
Continuously Strive For Improvement
The key to success of a TBL model is the full commitment of everyone within your company. Alignment throughout departments and the hierarchy of business will ensure compliance to each component every step of the way. Ultimately it may make sense for your organization to apply for B Corporation status. B Corporations are defined as for-profit companies certified to meet rigorous social and environmental standards related to performance, accountability, and transparency. Identifying as a B Corporation seperates yourself from competition by sending a clear message to stakeholders, and shareholders about the values and vision of your organization.
Michael Hanuman is currently employed by Gedcor Group Ltd. as a Risk and Compliance Officer. He is pursuing a BA in Political Science at Simon Fraser University.