In the 21st century, it has become increasingly clear that businesses must become more sustainable in order to survive and prosper. It’s no longer acceptable to focus on financial profit without counting the social and environmental costs.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the triple bottom line (TBL) are concepts that have been around for some time, but what are they and how might they affect your business?
What Is The Triple Bottom Line?
The triple bottom line was developed as a way for organizations to measure the true cost of doing business. In addition to the recognized financial bottom line – net income or profit – businesses are encouraged to report their social and environmental impacts.
Using traditional economic reporting models, businesses tend to prioritize cutting costs above all else. This often leads to low wages, hazardous working conditions and environmental pollution, but in previous decades these factors were often ignored and went unreported.
Today, these business practices are not acceptable to the majority of customers, who are willing to pay more for ethically and sustainably produced goods
Transparency is highly prized and reporting your triple bottom line is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
How Does The Triple Bottom Line Affect Your Business?
Consumers and business customers have a wide range of choices in almost every buying decision. Unless your business model is based solely on bargain basement prices, your products or services need to stand out from the competition by promoting your brand values.
The green and eco movement has already seen many companies focusing on the environmental credentials of their business and, more recently, social responsibility has also moved up the agenda.
While the use of sweatshops, child workers and slave labor still exists in some industries, a responsible business must ensure that workers are treated fairly, paid a living wage and can live and work in a safe, healthy environment.
Implementing socially responsible practices can increase profits. Studies have found that more than half of all consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, rising to almost three-quarters of millennials who would pay a premium.
Furthermore, companies that achieve a high level of social and environmental standards are less likely to suffer from negative events and news stories that may damage their brand. Although it may seem tricky to put a monetary value on an oil spill, for example, it’s easier to imagine the damage to the brand and the public perception of the company that caused or allowed the incident to happen.
How Can You Set Social Responsibility Goals for Your Business?
It was recognized from the outset that measuring the triple bottom line can be challenging since the perception of corporate responsibility varies widely.
Individual social and environmental goals should be set according to your business type and location, so they make sense for you and your customers.
Focus your social responsibility goals on the fair treatment of employees and contractors throughout the supply chain.
Some common social metrics to consider, irrespective of business type, might include:
- the number of local jobs created
- the percentage of minority group employees in the workforce
- how employee income and benefits compares to the local living wage
- the percentage of employees receiving workplace-sponsored education or training
Environmental responsibility goals should focus on reducing your impact on the planet, using only renewable and recyclable resources where possible.
Typical goals might include reducing water consumption, improving management of hazardous waste, or cutting your corporate carbon footprint.
How Can Offsetting Contribute Towards The Triple Bottom Line?
Offsetting your corporate carbon emissions is a great way to reduce your global environmental impact and can help you meet your CSR goals.
Progressive carbon offset projects also create positive social and environmental impacts within local communities that can boost your triple bottom line.
HelpBuild TM progressive offset projects are designed to help meet your sustainability goals and tell a compelling story: How your business operates in ways that benefit people, communities and the planet. Contact us by phone at 800-924-6826, by email at [email protected] today to learn more about how to set your business’s social impact targets.