Triple bottom line is a concept proposed in 1994 by John Elkington, the founder of a British consultancy called SustainAbility, according to The Economist. Elkington refers to the triple bottom line as the planet, or environment, people, or society, and profit, or the financial. Thus, we can also see triple bottom line as three Ps.
Components of the Triple Bottom Line
Under the triple bottom line, “planet” concerns your company’s environmental impact. These can include both positive and negative impacts, such as your recycling system, your suppliers, your vehicles, and your operational process, according to RMA Environmental Services.
“People” are usually those who are involved in your business. They can be your staff, your shareholders, your sponsors, your neighbors, your community, or other stakeholders. Last but not least, “profit” can be understood as a subtraction of not only your business costs, but also your environmental costs, from your total revenue.
Applying the Triple Bottom Line to Your Business
When applying the triple bottom line to businesses, business owners can measure the environmental, social, and financial performance of their companies over time to ensure their companies are driving profits while still acting responsibly toward the environment and society. One way to accomplish this is to invest in renewable energy, which not only reduces the utility costs required to run your company’s facility, but also aligns your business with other sustainable businesses.
Why You Should Care
The triple bottom line concept emphasizes the fact that there is a balance between profit, people, and the environment which can be struck to benefit everyone. By focusing on minimizing the environmental impact of your company’s operations, your company is looking out for the people around it, which can lead to additional profits, through gaining more goodwill with consumers and investing in renewable energy projects which specifically lower expenses.
Chris Ihler, EnergyLink’s CEO, gives more insight on the power of the triple bottom line in the video below: