The “Triple Bottom Line” is a term that many large companies are using to describe how they view their three main impacts: economicbusiness operations, social, and ecological. It shows that moving from eco-efficient to eco-effective business practices doesn’t really need to be too complex. You don’t need a “green” agenda nor do you need to dramatically shift your business practices to incorporate this way of thinking into your business plan to begin seeing benefits.
Breaking it Down
Economic/Business Operations: Chances are, you do this every day already. This is the single bottom line that we talk about normally. Money, how can we get more of it by looking at things differently? If I make this decision, will it positively or negatively affect my bottom line? Is there a trade-off where this may cost me more initially, but it will deliver greater returns in the future? Can I afford to do this now and if I do will it deliver a competitive advantage over the other guys? If I don’t, will I get beat to the punch?
As business owners, these are some of the most important questions you ask yourself and this should never be diminished in importance. Whether you’re choosing to change how you operate your businesses from a process standpoint or looking at new products, the single bottom line is never far from our minds.
Social aspects and implications: This is a way to talk about what your customers and employees see as a benefit from a decision that you make. During business planning, begin considering whether or not actions you take will promote healthier or safer working environments for both your employees and your clients. Will your workers and clients be happier at the end of the day? By implementing a given best practice or by using a given product, will your business stand to burnish its good reputation and generate word-of-mouth references as a result? If the answer is yes, then this will ultimately contribute to the growth of your business.
Ecological concerns: The big E-word. If you’re not being environmentally sensitive these days, you’re missing the bus on a big selling point. While some of us are getting fatigued of hearing green this and green that, we must acknowledge that this is a big movement with consumers. The good news is that by realizing this, working with the collective conscious of our customers, and creating a vision for our own company that aligns with these ideals, we can tap into this as well.
As a business owner, look at how your ecological attributes can differentiate your product to the consumer from a nuts and bolts perspective. What do they get besides that happy feeling that they’re doing something right for the world? Do they gain efficiencies in the function or upkeep of their space that saves them money with these advanced materials? Does the use of these materials create a demand for your business or do the materials themselves, because of their green nature, command a higher margin? If so, there are benefits to selling green on both sides of the equation.
By exploring the possibility of how we can make better business decisions while using the “Triple Bottom Line,” it makes sense that we should emulate the success that big business is having using this approach. Taking into account all three aspects allows us to, most importantly, think in a structured manner about additional value that we are delivering to the customer and be conscious of the additional benefits we reap in return. The best part is that it can be a change you make without any additional cost; just add a few more considerations when thinking about your business.