In the past the success of a company was measured by looking at its financial bottom-line. When investors evaluated potential investment options, they were essentially interested in whether the company was making money, and what the prospects were of it continuing to do so. In the last decade, the realisation that making money and being a sustainable business required much more than focusing solely on the financial bottom-line and led to the development of the notion of a Triple Bottom Line.
The Triple Bottom Line concept recognises that a “bottom line” should not solely reflect the economic return on investment of a business. Other assets, which deal with issues of environmental sustainability and social capital, ranging from labour practices to community upliftment, should also be included. The concept is underpinned by three societal objectives:
We believe that the ability of a business to persist in a truly sustainable state will result from producing a positive and balanced return to all three platforms of capital: economic, environmental and social.