The hippies grew up to become yuppies in the 1980s. There was a lot of focus on profitability. That decade has been associated with greed, but it was also associated with amazing growth and wealth generation.
The slackers grew up to become social advocates in the 1990s.
The people side of an enterprise was given greater consideration. Catered meals and work/life balance became standard for many companies.
The entitled are growing up to become environmental advocates in the early part of this century. There is a focus on being green, renewable, and globally responsible. Recycling programs and innovative sources are the focus.
From profit to people to planet, all three now make up the bottom line. Interestingly, as the Boomers are entering their retirement years, they are also taking time to reconsider what to do with their amassed wealth. Yuppies are becoming hippies again. Capital is now moving toward triple bottom line solutions. With the addition of each variable to the bottom line, the time to profitability or realized return on investment is delayed.
With each variable, costs generally increase. A balanced focus on each variable means a focus on sustainability—a sustainable company, solution, planet, and ultimately a sustainable return on investment.
Here’s the rub. It is not just business that must shift to a triple bottom line lens. Policy-makers, consumers, non-profits, and educators need to use the triple bottom line lens as well. All parties working in concert will create efficiencies that will lead to a greater (or faster) return on investment.
How are you impacting the triple bottom line?
Do you think triple bottom line standards are unattainable?