the tri is a movement made up of individuals and triple bottom line partner companies who actively share a message of unity and social responsibility.
We believe that by promoting a higher standard, as individuals we can intentionally vote with our dollars, and as businesses, we can use commerce as a tool to influence society, develop market-based solutions and create positive socio-economic change.
Each tri partner company meets a strict standard of integrity and maintains a fierce commitment to transparency, radical inclusion and triple bottom line success. We at the tri are proud to partner with the following innovative organizations containing rich history, visionary leaders and powerful examples of conscious capitalism.
The triple bottom line (TBL) consists of social equity, economic, and environmental factors. The phrase, “people, planet, and profit” to describe the triple bottom line and the goal of sustainability was coined by John Elkington in 1994 while at Sustain Ability, and was later used as the title of the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell’s first sustainability report in 1997. As a result, one country in which the 3P concept took deep root was The Netherlands.
People, the social equity bottom line
The people, social equity, or human bottom line pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which a corporation conducts its business. A TBL company conceives a reciprocal social structure in which the well-being of corporate, labor and other stakeholder interests are interdependent.
An enterprise dedicated to the triple bottom line seeks to provide benefit to many constituencies and not to exploit or endanger any group of them. The “upstreaming” of a portion of profit from the marketing of finished goods back to the original producer of raw materials, for example, a farmer in fair trade agricultural practice, is a common feature. In concrete terms, a TBL business would not use child labor and monitor all contracted companies for child labor exploitation, would pay fair salaries to its workers, would maintain a safe work environment and tolerable working hours, and would not otherwise exploit a community or its labor force. A TBL business also typically seeks to “give back” by contributing to the strength and growth of its community with such things as health care and education. Quantifying this bottom line is relatively new, problematic and often subjective. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has developed guidelines to enable corporations and NGOs alike to comparably report on the social impact of a business.
Planet, the environmental bottom line
The planet, environmental bottom line, or natural capital bottom line refers to sustainable environmental practices. A TBL company endeavors to benefit the natural order as much as possible or at the least do no harm and minimize environmental impact. A TBL endeavor reduces its ecological footprint by, among other things, carefully managing its consumption of energy and non-renewables and reducing manufacturing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner. “Cradle to Grave” is uppermost in the thoughts of TBL manufacturing businesses, which typically conduct a life cycle assessment of products to determine what the true environmental cost is from the growth and harvesting of raw materials to manufacture to distribution to eventual disposal by the end user.
Currently, the cost of disposing of non-degradable or toxic products is borne financially by governments and environmentally by the residents near the disposal site and elsewhere. In TBL thinking, an enterprise which produces and markets a product which will create a waste problem should not be given a free ride by society. It would be more equitable for the business which manufactures and sells a problematic product to bear part of the cost of its ultimate disposal.
Ecologically destructive practices, such as overfishing or other endangering depletions of resources are avoided by TBL companies. Often environmental sustainability is the more profitable course for a business in the long run. Arguments that it costs more to be environmentally sound are often specious when the course of the business is analyzed over a period of time. Generally, sustainability reporting metrics are better quantified and standardized for environmental issues than for social ones. A number of respected reporting institutes and registries exist including the Global Reporting Initiative, CERES, Institute 4 Sustainability and others. The ecological bottom line is akin to the concept of eco-capitalism.
Profit, the economic bottom line
The profit or economic bottom line deals with the economic value created by the organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of the capital tied up. It, therefore, differs from traditional accounting definitions of profit. In the original concept, within a sustainability framework, the “profit” aspect needs to be seen as the real economic benefit enjoyed by the host society. It is the real economic impact the organization has on its economic environment. This is often confused to be limited to the internal profit made by a company or organization (which nevertheless remains an essential starting point for the computation). Therefore, an original TBL approach cannot be interpreted as simply traditional corporate accounting profit plus social and environmental impacts unless the “profits” of other entities are included as a social benefit.
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