The TBL concept was initially developed by John Elkington in 1994. In 2018, Elkington wrote an article titled “25 Years Ago I Coined the Phrase ‘Triple Bottom Line’: Here’s Why It’s Time to Rethink It”. He used the article as a call to strengthen how the TBL is used and to put more even more focus on sustainability and less on profit. In the article, he states:
But success or failure on sustainability goals cannot be measured only in terms of profit and loss. It must also be measured in terms of the wellbeing of billions of people and the health of our planet, and the sustainability sector’s record in moving the needle on those goals has been decidedly mixed. While there have been successes, our climate, water resources, oceans, forests, soils and biodiversity are all increasingly threatened. It is time to either step up—or to get out of the way.
Meanwhile, some believe that incorporating this framework into practice raises more questions than it resolves, especially around reporting, regulation, and a deviation from the financial bottom line of businesses.
In your initial post, address the following questions:
- Do you think that it is the responsibility of businesses to track and manage the social, economic, and environmental impacts of their actions? Why or why not?
- What value does using the TBL bring to a business, and is it worth the potential drawbacks of incorporating it?
- What value do businesses using the TBL bring to society, and how might society be impacted if TBL were not a common business practice?