Tools & Resources

What is the "Triple Bottom Line"?

A phrase coined in 1994 by John Elkington and later used in his 1997 book "Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line Of 21st Century Business" describing the separate financial, social and environmental "bottom lines" of companies. A triple bottom line measures the company's economic value, "people account" – which measures the company's degree of social responsibility and the company's "planet account" – which measures the company's environmental responsibility. Elkington argued that companies should prepare three bottom lines – the triple bottom line – instead of focusing solely on its finances, thereby giving consideration to the company's social, economic and environmental impact.

Also called "TBL," "3BL," "People, Planet, Profit" and "The Three Pillars."

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