9.7 The Triple Bottom Line

The concept of the Triple Bottom Line is gaining acceptance around the world, as communities begin to examine their quality of life and consider the environmental consequences of their actions. Triple Bottom Line (also known as "people, planet, profit" or "the three pillars") considers an expanded spectrum of criteria for measuring the success of any organization. These criteria are typically economic, social and environmental. Triple bottom line accounting expands the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological and social performance in addition to financial performance.






This approach also uses all three criteria to structure total business case evaluations for proposed projects that take into account the three types of capital needed to complete a project (financial, human and natural) as well as the three types of impacts of the project.






The ultimate goal of the triple bottom line approach is sustainability. But for most people and most communities, true sustainability is a nebulous concept whose realization is beyond our reach. That, however, should not prevent us from working toward that goal. Every step in that direction enhances our future and that of our children and grandchildren.

That's the ultimate goal--we want to protect our rivers and waters.
--Ted Riehle, Old Forge, NY