Triple bottom line

The concept of Triple Bottom Line, or 3BL has come out into prominence of late after the increased importance of corporate social responsibility being recognized by the leaders across all countries – political, social and business leaders. It simply is People. Planet. Profits.

For any business, this idea is relevant. As long as you can bring in transformational or at least transactional changes into the value chain, you get to have a bigger share in the pie. Why? Because you are adding value not only to your customers, but your employees and the environment as well. Moreover, note that People comes before Profits, and so does Planet. This goes to amplify the concern about employees and care for the environment before the profitability of a business.

There is a theory of Open Systems that they teach at business school, which in simple words means: What you give in as an input in any process is worked upon and the output that comes out is depends on the input to the process. In technological terms, they have a similar theory called GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage out. What it means when you apply the 3BL concept to these theories is that when you care about the stakeholders in the value chain so much that you put them ahead of your profitability curve, you become the preferred employer, the environment saver, the socially-responsible member of the community. Not long after that, you become a preferred customer too. I don’t mean to say that only by caring for the employees and the environment would you get all the profits; indeed, making profits would include a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. What I am saying is that when you do all this, then everyone in the value chain helps you become the best, which eventually gets you the customers’ preference as well.

When you know what you want, the whole world conspires for you to achieve it, wrote Paulo Coelho. I will use his words to help me convey my message. People. Planet. Profits. Just do it.