Historically, businesses have maintained a laser focus on improving profitability and securing the best financial performance for stakeholders. An accounting structure called the triple bottom line (TBL) seeks to change that, offering a trifold paradigm equally emphasizing people, profits, and planet. In short, this model seeks to balance financial performance with social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
This may seem like a goal that’s attractive, yet ultimately unattainable, especially if your organization has long been locked into a profits-first mentality. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are practical steps that every business can take to move toward a TBL mentality.
A good starting point is simply to learn more about the TBL model. It was developed in the 1990s by an entrepreneur named John Elkington, who sought to prove that companies could seek financial success without compromising on social and environmental ethics. Essentially, it reboots the traditional corporate accounting structure, expanding it to include multiple dimensions of measuring business success. The point of the TBL model isn’t to place social and environmental concerns over profits, but rather to demonstrate that these goals need not be mutually exclusive.
As more and more consumers seek to spend their money with sustainability minded companies, the TBL model has grown increasingly popular. In fact, it’s one of the most widely employed structures for businesses interested in practical, measurable corporate responsibility.
If you’re ready to embrace a more holistic scope, emphasizing not just financial standing but also social and environmental concerns, there are a few preliminary steps we’d recommend.
Evaluate Your Business
Start with a self-inventory. Does your business achieve profitability in a way that degrades the environment, or harms people in your community? Or is your profitability compatible with human and ecological flourishing? This level of awareness is critical as you think about the extent to which you need to rethink some of your business practices.
Leadership is essential for adopting a TBL mentality, but leadership alone isn’t enough. You’ll need the buy-in of your entire team. Provide clear communication about what the TBL concept is, and why it matters. Emphasize that this framework can help you earn the trust and loyalty of a consumer demographic that’s increasingly invested in corporate responsibility.
Look for Ways to Help
When it comes to positively impacting people and the planet (two of the three p’s in the TBL model), you can start small, and you can start right away. Look for ways in which your company can volunteer or underwrite efforts to clean up trash, feed the homeless, or support other valuable causes in your community. These efforts can double as team-building activities. Note that volunteerism alone isn’t enough to make you a full-fledged TBL company, but it can certainly signal an earnest commitment.
You won’t be able to transform your business into a TBL company overnight, but these steps can point you in the right direction. To learn more about starting your TBL journey, we welcome you to contact WasteXperts at your convenience.