The triple bottom line has been touted greatly during the past while, but is it possible – is staying green really going to be sustainable?
This is the question posed by Anthony Hardy, newly-appointed CEO of ICT-focused business compliance company, Wynleigh International.
Triple bottom line (TBL), the social, economic bottom line as reported by companies, is also known by the mantra: "people, planet, profit".
“Today the TBL embodies an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organisational – and societal – success," says Hardy.
"This embodies economic, ecological and social successes. With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in 2007, this became the main, and accepted, approach to public sector full cost accounting.”
Is it a good thing? “Yes," Hardy states unequivocally.
Is it possible to fulfill, or to sustain? Here lies the rub.
As hard as companies might try, the TBL is going to take immense strain in the modern business world as companies greedily chase excessive profits.
There are hordes of people who remember various horrendous oil spills, and other environmental disasters. With these, how is it possible to maintain a “green momentum”?
“Despite corporates seriously looking at the TBL, their search for money often means that they just pay lip service to the noble concept," Hardy says.
“Oil companies who are responsible for oil spills for instance, should not just be paying for the initial clean-up process, they should be brought more seriously to book and be made to pay more long term damages – as often the damage done to the environment lasts for many decades.
"With environmental calamities happening regularly, it begs the question, is the TBL – and striving to be green – a real possibility? Not when you have companies – like large oil and mining companies – trying to strip our planet of every last resource, and, seemingly, at any cost.”