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Triple Bottom Line Concept and Its Benefits for Businesses


The concept of Triple Bottom line is just a popular concept that has been applied in the understanding of social duties among companies trying forward for the incorporation of non monetary values in their businesses. Its notion has become of much fashion in general management, investing and management during the last few years. It has been explained that the ultimate success of corporations should be measured not only by the use of traditional financial important thing, but need also to be measured by on the ethical and environmental factors. In fact most people have accepted that, organizations have a lot of obligations to their stakeholders to acquire responsible behaviors. Furthermore, additionally it is true that, it is not possible for organizations over time to be successful if they disregard key stakeholders' interests. Its apparent novelty lines in the contention of its supporters that the entire attainment of duties to the society, clients, employees as well as suppliers should be either calculated or audited and even report presented exactly like financial performance of public organizations have been for over a century now, (Bowen, 1953).

As a matter of known fact, TBL can't be taken as though it can be an award, qualification or even an accreditation that may be earned, but it is a continuous process that just helps companies to keep on making certain they will work towards greener business, as well as the demonstrating to the neighborhood community that, they can be not only working towards enriching themselves, but also to the common good. Its major aim is to ensure sustainable development strategy.

Literature review

Historical Perspective

The origin of triple Bottom Line dates back in 1990s, when the management thought accountability started using the phrase in its work. In 1997, the phrase got currency with "1997 publication of British edition of John Elkington's Cannibals with Forks: The Triple IMPORTANT THING of 21st Century Business" (Elkington, 1998). As a matter of fact, there were very few literatures onto it, and many individuals thought that, Elkington coined the theory. However, following its publication, they have spread just like bush wire. It has been embraced and promoted by different organizations like the Global Reporting initiative and accountability through the use of its concept in corporate world. Not being taken as a surprise, most companies accounting organizations have incorporated the idea within an approval way when offering services that help companies that are looking to audit or even measure their additional bottom lines. Just as, there were sizable part of industrial investment which may have been devoted their energy din the processes of screening organizations on the foundation of the environmental as well as ethical/social undertakings. As a matter of fact, almost all of them use 3BL language.

Not only companies, but different governments, government departments as well as political parties have also been well represented in the increasing documentation of these proposing the fact. The Triple Important thing was actually inspired by Patrick Urbanist, who developed similar ideas in the beginning of 20th century. These concepts depends much "on the triad of "folk, work, and place, " which encouraged the use of the multifaceted method of policy and economic analysis" (Robertson, 1992). On the later stage, in a similar function, the aspect was adopted by both environmental and business theorists. Specifically, the most renown theorists was Elkington, with his intention of discovering an approach to social/ethical responsibility that was far much practical for business managers and leaders. That is based on the actual fact that, it generally does not regard or even water down the social/ethical as well as environmental values of a lot more ethical business. There have been a number of different approaches have been trying to create a very better metrics, that are far much helpful in the calculation of any triple important thing since that time. Some of such approaches have been considered legislation in some parts of the earth, for instance, Oregon and Minnesota States in the United State. Other nations or countries include Australia.

Essentially, the areas of TBL were just an attempt of introducing a paradigm of accounting to the social environmental domains. Originally, the concept was just introduced as a tool of corporate tool of business. As an effect, individuals wonder if during its introduction, the notion was that the phrase would be picked and applied universally as it is now. Somewhat, the phrase is much less new so, this is based on the actual fact that, the idea just applies accounting knowledge from what was formally called corporate social responsibility.

Sometimes back, lots of companies used to scorn the notion of Triple IMPORTANT THING reporting systems; currently, there are those people who have taken its task fully. Its effects have been experienced in the positive flow on the suppliers. Since chains of supply are also accountable to the business's performances, also, they are scrutinized well in the Triple IMPORTANT THING audits. The best examples in U. S are some big box stores which can be greening up their actions, so when an effect, demanding their suppliers to utilize less packaging.

Elements of Triple Bottom Line Concept

The elements of Triple Bottom Line include profit also known as Economic value, people (Social values) and the planet (Ecological value. ) this is based on the description provided by Sustainability influence by 200th century Urbanist Patrick, in his notion of folk work as well as place.

Ecological values (planet)

One of the elements that define Triple IMPORTANT THING concept is ecological values. In its sense, it identifies environmental practices that are sustainable. The Triple IMPORTANT THING company struggles itself to ensure so it has benefited the natural order just as much as it might, or at least to the level that it will not harm and curtail environmental effects. A Triple Bottom Line endeavor means that it has reduced its ecological footprint by considering other factors. Normally, this is done through; careful management of its energy consumption as well as the non-renewable. This usually goes together with the reduced amount of waste manufacture, along with rendering waste products less toxic before disposing them din a safe and legal manner. The phrase "Cradle to grave" is uppermost in the thoughts of TBL manufacturing businesses which typically conduct a life cycle assessment of products to know what the true environmental cost is from the growth and harvesting of recycleables to manufacture to distribution to eventual disposal by the finish user. " Accompany that considers A triple important thing, does not at all produce harmful products, or even destructive products for instance, weapons, chemicals that are toxic or even batteries that contain heavy metals that may be termed as dangerous" (Giddens, 1995).

In the existing times, the expenses involved during dumping of non-degradable products or even toxic waste material, is very high. As a result, are borne financially by different stakeholders like for instance, Governments and environmentally by those person that reside near the dumping site and also elsewhere. According to the thinking of A triple bottom line, an industry which engages itself in the production as well as marketing something that may at one point create a waste problem, should never at any cost be provided with a simple ride by the society all together, even the federal government shouldn't provide any incentive onto it. It'll be considered more equitable for any businesses that involves themselves and sales products which might be taken as problematic, or may cause some troubles in future, , need to bear part of the expenses of its ultimate disposal.

Practices which may be considered as being ecologically, for instance, overfishing activities or any other activity that in one way or the other tries to endanger the depletion of some resources are all prevented by A triple important thing company. In most cases, environmental sustainability is a far more profitable course for investors over time. However, arguments explained that it's much expensive "to be environmentally sound tend to be specious when the span of the business is analyzed over a period. Generally, sustainability reporting metrics are better quantified and standardized for environmental issues than for social ones" (Porter 1998). There are a number of respected reporting institutions as well as registries, are under existence, for instance, the Global Reporting initiative, institute for sustainability, CERES, as well as the institute for sustainability, amongst others.

The reality up to now is that, practice or companies that that induce a lot of economic wealth, but do not no matter what avoid the deletion of natural resource, eventually can be considered as sustainable triple important thing. This is predicated on the fact that, at a unitary time, the merchandise or organization, will at onetime lacks natural resources to keep its operation. In addition, it's been proved that, procedures that do not factor at any level environmental costs of production sends false signals to customers and government. If regardless a company entails in the externalization of business environment, in most cases consumers tent to believe that, the expense of producing such a product is much less than reality, due to lower charges for instance, demand tents to be higher. Tipple important thing Sustainability, looks forward in addressing so on issues.

Profit (economic value)

This can be termed as the financial value that is usually created by any organization after the deduction of all expenses of any input, even after the exclusion of tangled up capital. As an effect, it differs much from the traditional accounting definitions of the particular profit is. Originally within sustainability framework, the idea of profit is meant to be seen as being the real benefits that the host community enjoys. It is presumed to being the monetary impacts an organization may have on its economic environ. This generally is confused with the "limited by the inner profit created by a business or organization (which nevertheless remains an essential starting place for the computation)" (Matt, 2010). As an effect, the initial Triple Bottom Line approach cannot in any way be interpreted to be traditional corporate accounting profits on top of social and environmental effects, except when the profits of other entities have been included as social gains.

Just as any other element of Triple Bottom Line, the idea of profit includes net profits or losses. All business practices that leads to the creation of both environmental social advantages, but eventually ends up losing money, is considered as not being sustainable at all. This is not predicated on the fact that, at one point the business enterprise might lack its functions funding. As a result, the Triple Bottom Line does not have any intention of excluding "profit incentive from operations. It exists to balance the profit incentive with the costs of production decisions that tend to be externalized:" (Matt, 2010) both environment and social bills. Those proposing sustainability Triple IMPORTANT THING initiative, make clear that functions that in a single way or the other, but only create costs similarly not suitable are unsustainable as well.

People, (social value)

This refers to the and fair and beneficial business procedures towards labor and the community and region under which the firm carries its activities. A Triple Bottom Line firm is aimed at benefiting many constituencies; by ensuring that it generally does not endanger any group neither destroys it. Part of the profits gained from finished product marketing back to the original raw materials producer. As a matter of fact, Triple Bottom Line business never uses child labor and will always monitor contracted organizations for the exploitation of child labor. Such organizations will also pay better salaries as well as maintaining safe working conditions, along with tolerable working hours. In addition they anticipate giving back to the community, by contributing to its growth with things like healthcare and schools. The quantification of such important thing is new, subjective and often problematic, Fine (1991).

Theories and Opinions

According to Michael Porter, economy is merely a social construct. That is based on the reason that, it is really as an impact of policies, institutions as well as interactions which makes up the society. Secondly, the meaning of economy and what it is, hails from narratives created by society members. In this manner, the economic important thing is not separable from social issues, including societal issues. According to Michael Porter, both economical and social issues can't be separated at a price; this is based on the fact that it's far much difficult to for anyone to reject the fact that, the partnership between economy and society will vary. It has been found by economists that, financial processes that increases competitiveness, and better financial bottom line, leads to long-term social trade off. It really is true that, "through the erratic nature of innovation, improved varieties of production are developed but their

Adoption is hindered by the lack of supporting services and infrastructure once abundant but no more Available. " (Porter 1998)

On the same note, economical efficiency might result to other forms of social stresses. This is especially when features of higher efficiency is not distributed equally. As of this very point anytime, for instance, many producers of vegetables across U. S may be arguing that, the existing chain of supply arrangements gives rise to non-producers in the chain of supply for instance, processors and retailers capturing rather than passing on the interests of the efficiency that is gained by producers. At this time for instance, this in most cases occurs when monetary notions those results to social equity are in facing head on one another.

On the other hand, constructivist school sociologists like Grove-White (1997), and Fine (1991), have brought the idea that; environment by itself has already been a human construct. Cultural groups have resulted in the construction landscapes as their own reflections. Any form of change in environment has been associated with social along with cultural symbols. According to Finer, this is of an organization has been renegotiated to make reference to the conception and definition of what the surroundings is.

Constructivists have therefore give TBL different meanings, for instance, the existence of environmental factor will not exist unless socially constructed. As a matter of fact, the surroundings can get collective meaning depending on collective social affiliations that are related to them. This is because, in one way or the other, the environment can be considered as being inseparable from the sociology. Though such like statements are philosophically challenging, nonetheless they seem sensible when individuals start translating personal perceptions into shared point of views. For example, to different individuals, a river might be a way to obtain water, to another person, source of beauty while to the rest might view it as recreation source.

Secondly, environmental issues in most cases reflect social interaction. That is based on the fact that, scholar have even mentioned that the surroundings by itself is constructed by socio-culture. It has been argued by White-Grove that problems consequently of environment are just physical phenomena. "environmental problems and issues which society recognizes at any one moment are shaped and determined by processes of human judgment and social negotiation, even in their very definitions" (White-Grove 2011). This view has been has been supported by other researchers like Woodhill's who have concluded that

In the recent past, there have been demands the addition of fourth important thing on the Triple IMPORTANT THING, that'll be predicated on culture however, people have argued that, this will just increase "a fourth leg to an idea that is in many ways flawed, it can provide a lead to defining some pragmatic ways of dealing with the flaws" (Spiller & Lake 2003). This call has attracted a lot of attention to the consequences that accumulated stresses that are currently measured by TBL.

Globalization has played a major part in the TBL concept development; however, the paradox that has include globalization is the fact that, it includes resulted to greater global integration of both "national and regional economies and cultures, it accentuates, rather than minimizes, the significance of the neighborhood context for impressive activities" (Acs et al 1996). At first so on contradiction was referred to as 'glocalization'. This paradox has a very strong suggestion of regionalism, and calls for collective practices at local levels trying with a lot of effort to challenge the point of globalization, but on the other hand, it tries accommodating it to enhance competitive advantage. This sort of advantages is in most cases just a very complex mix of issues which under Triple IMPORTANT THING framework.

In addition, the issue of glocalization tends to explain just how forward. Above all, it tries to integrate factors that underlay the TBL, other than accumulating credits along with deficits that define bottom lines that tent to possess greater meaning to prospects those who tent to live on the events other reporting them, (Bowen, 1953).

Application, Impact and Discussion

Positive Impacts

The company might experience increased income and market share. This shows that, managers think that, their organizations find a way of benefiting a lot from the Triple IMPORTANT THING efforts. Market share impact also indicates that the management believes that, both customers and stakeholders have responded positively to the action. As an undeniable fact, managers will be seeing financial value; cause, it can help in expense saving along with incomes from new markets and innovation opportunities.

There is also increased employee retention after Triple IMPORTANT THING (TBL) implementation. Having more robust sustainability is effective in the retention as well as recruitment of better talents. Research has shown that, employees kin U. s prefer getting lower salaries but work with responsible institutions. Managers look at increased societal support as being an advantage to TBL. This sis predicated on the actual fact that, the neighborhood society influences firm's procedure license. When businesses engage in societal activities, like addressing community problems and engaging in social impacts, it is presented as a good citizen corporate and partners. As an impact, managers view this as a potential for opening dialogue door and positive stakeholders. The TBL implementation also assists in the avoidance of legal issues, and angering special interest teams while encouraging good publicity.

Managers look at increased societal support as another positive impact of TBL. Companies offering support to society, impact their environment beyond the firm's boundaries. Activities like development of education and health system, causes a lower life expectancy risk. Which means that, when organizations implement TBL, they become safer enterprises, hence, to them, funds procurement is much easier.

As an effect, an organization might use such positive impacts for the creation of an framework that rewards practices and decisions made by its management for the support of sustainability along with TBL. In general, TBL causes the "hiring of top talent, higher retention of top talent, increased employee productivity, reduced manufacturing expenses, reduced expenses at commercial sites, increased revenues and market share, reduced risk, and easier financing" (Willard, 2002). As shown in figure 1 bellow.

Figure 1 organizational advantage to TBL from: ttp://www. ccl. org/leadership/pdf/research/tripleBottomLine. pdf

Negative Impacts

Division of labor is one of the characteristic of rich societies, and a major reason that brings about massive accumulation of wealth. This then contributes to the point that organizations' contributions are majorly to the welfare of the community din every area when managers are concentrating on what they can do best, for the benefit for all. Sat the time, business is satisfying the society, TBL is then regarded as very harmful, as it diverts business attention far from its main goals and values. For instance, just like charity like Red Cross aren't likely to handle environmental issues. As an impact, mangers have to know they are not necessary to concentrate on concerns outside company's main objective, considering that the enterprise is not doing any injury to the environment or people.

The concern for social and environmental issues is hardly within poor communities, it is only a problem for richer societies. As an impact, application of TBL acts as an "exemplory case of options avaiable to the citizens of a society made wealthy by businesses attending to business" (Willard, 2002). As an effect, the creative focus on only business makes the business to contribute effectively to the betterment of all society angles, like social, environmental as well as economic.

Though socially responsible managers will say that is harmful to the society, however, TBL pressurizes libertarian managers to a mechanism that may or is probably not the best option. It is not ethical to force businesses to undertake duties that are outside there core region of concentration. This is so particularly in areas that the firm will not harm either the environment or people in any way.

In the implementation TBL, most managers face the issue of achieving global agreement on simultaneous policy that might render such like measures within TBL at the best advisory, hence unenforceable. For example, individuals is probably not willing to face depression or recession with the aim of replenishing lost ecosystem.

One of the major shortcomings of TBL framework application is capability of being applicable in monetary-based economic system. Since there has been never but still you will see no single way in monetary terminologies that can be used to measure society and environment as there has been profits. TBL will not allow mangers to obtain the sum of most three bottom lines. For this reason, it is far much problematic for managers to recognize the great things about TBL implementation in the firm.

Mangers implementing TBL have been criticized by the TBL left wingers on the fact that, this method is just an "attempt by otherwise exploitative corporations to avoid legislation and taxation and generate a fictitious people-friendly & eco-friendly image for PR purposes" (Giddens, 1995).

Application of Triple Bottom Line Concepts in Management

It is being applied as an accounting and reporting tool as promoted by Elkington. This application has gained rapid adoption especially among global organizations that are looking for ways to enhance their image a good global citizen. For example, Shell was between the first firm in the United States. Many organizations have ended up hiring the Consultancy Organization Sustainability by Elkington, in developing tools that assists in their accounting for his or her progress against TBL (Shell International, 1998). The procedure of developing TBL into a framework unto which firms can make a presentation with their performance accounts, has ended up promoting flurries of studies, money and consultancy firms. The goodness is the fact, all of them are along the way of improving the various tools and processes involved. As a matter of fact, the global Reporting Initiative has been established with the objective of providing central concentration for such like activities, and also setting some international standards for reporting sustainability. This application of TBL reporting has gained its application in a variety of public sectors as well as smaller entrepreneurs.

The idea of TBL has introduced the factor of measurement in the management of organization as urged by Elkington. He explained that "what you can't measure, it's likely you'll find hard to manage" (Elkington, 1998). It just happened that, he was a fervent believer that, it is very much possible to use Triple IMPORTANT THING along the way of measuring progress. However, Elkington acknowledges two0n major challenges. The first challenge is that, the procedure of accounting for social dimension, there's a problem. This does not concern how measure social attributes. He continued that, among the challenges of Triple IMPORTANT THING agenda, he notes that, "whenever we are the social and ethical dimensions of sustainability, the number of sustainability-related

Issues and impacts grow dramatically" (Elkington, 2004). He eventually ends up concluding that, the second challenge faced by TBL model is the introduction of a strategy that measure progress din a way that is very much indeed integrated across the Triple Bottom Line.

However, lots of those carrying out social studies have criticized Elkington ideas that TBL has been applied in a few type of decision algorithm mechanisms. Such researchers have argued that, the decisions that revolve around sustainability and natural resource management need to concentrate on issues that can count, other than being predicated on things that may be counted (Vanclay, 2003). There are other researchers who have noted some difficulties in the adoption of framework that leads to decision making systems that incorporates social dimension. "In attempting to develop social indicators we come across immediately the situation that the communities whose health where we are interested do not resemble the sorts of stable and self-regulating systems we find in nature" (Lockie & Jennings, 2003)

Such like criticism and other reservations were all raised at a workshop that was discussing and debating the usage of Triple Bottom Line concept as a way of incorporating social dimension into other policies along with processes of decision making for Australia. On of the major conclusion that this workshop came up with was that, developing Triple Bottom Line indicators is merely one of the procedure in a broader process. On the other hand, the main topic of identifying indicators is an essential output. This is based on the fact that, it will help organizations make reflections on their overall strategic goals, as the process proceeds well beyond that first rung on the ladder. The process of reporting TBL results to engagements with stakeholders in the creation of new circuits of knowledge exchange, as well as communication. The ongoing monitoring as well as reporting of TBL indicates that "it has the capability of creating a new phase of organizational reflection" (Elkington, 2004). Apart from that, it also brings about the exchange that regards to the grade of measures under use and the performance target that have been set up.

As a planning and reporting tool, the manner in which TBL has been used, is merely seen as being a mare approximation of complex aspects for instance, sustainability. This has been taken up to be much true in the case of its uptake by organizations. For just about any company to count for 'global' aspects, for instance sustainability would desire a detailed as well as complex analysis of the company's interaction with ecological systems, societies, habitats, resources as well as habitats. Inside the light of all other firms' past as well as present effects don the similar systems. In its place, it can be used during categorizing different matters that can be connected to sustainability pursuit, with an objective that, the business gets the power of monitoring the effects of its activities concerning these issues.

Appropriate Strategies and Recommendations

The TBL needs a much focused commitment through long term strategic thinking, alignment, planning as well as implementation. When organizations propose a certain corporate sustainability, the issue encountered is determined by the process of incorporating TBL principles onto operations of an organization. You will find two aspects which organizations have to consider ensuring successful integration of TBL along with company strategy is that; sustainability needs a lot of innovation. The second point is the fact, sustainability strategies need to be customized. Studies have discovered that, the business size has no effect on whether it wants to include TBL.

Consistent with major tips of 2003 workshop on social dimension of TBL in rural Australia, I advocate greater focus on the process of TBL reporting as a means of encouraging the ability of addressing sustainability change. As a matter of fact, there should be a set of criteria which should be found in the analysis of TBL with the major goal of increasing TBL outcomes.

Organizations need to implement an iterative learning cycle. This may ensure that organizations planning are but on collaborative change reflections which will be seen after an procedure by the business in the past. At the core of these operations, should be the ability that allows stakeholders engagement in company operations, on both external and internal, (Elkington, 2004).

Another recommendation is the fact that, when considering how different activities can lead to sustainable future community, I recommend that, TBL reporting have to be promoted by companies. This is predicated on increasing amount of experience and resources to enable organizations' handle TBL reporting dealings. Given some of the inherent constraints with organizational-based TBL reporting, it is much clear that organizations need to take TBL as an adaptive long-term adaptive management. This will not be observed as an instant fix, but it requires the development of means of monitoring how organizations, activities are adding to particular TBL sustainability and the reflection on performance evaluation that ensures that all targets are concentrated after most significant issues not merely the ones that are most expedient, which its efforts are addressing these effectively.

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