The Triple Bottom Line
The business concept of sustainability focuses on three bottoms lines.
First, the Economic: the financial impact on an individual or company.
Secondly, the Environmental: the impact on the air, water, land and global climate.
Thirdly the Social: the impact on an individual’s happiness, health and productivity, or the impact on the community’s welfare.
According to the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments, this is a business approach that creates long-term value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments or changes. That means integrating sustainability into their decision-making processes and paying attention to how their actions affect the environment and society around them, as well as how they affect the organization financially.
A company replaces the lighting fixtures in its corporate headquarters building with brighter, more energy-efficient ones. Because the new fixtures use less energy, the company saves money. But wait, there is more! As a result of the company’s actions, the local electric utility company generates less electricity and therefore emits less air pollution — that’s the environmental impact. And the brighter lighting fixtures create better working conditions for employees – that’s the social impact.
That’s the triple bottom line at work.