What is the Triple Bottom Line?


Traditionally, the term ‘bottom line’ referred to profit. Simply put, businesses prioritised their bottom line a critical aspect of decision making.

The Triple Bottom Line is a sustainability framework that builds on this concept and recognises that while it is important to measure economic outcomes, it is equally as important to measure social and environmental elements when accounting for the true cost of something.

 

The Triple Bottom Line Model. Source: Elkington (1997). 

 

Economic Sustainability 

The bottom line of Economic Sustainability requires measuring the impacts and advantages for the local economic environment and facilitating opportunities for responsible, sustainable growth. Including, but not limited to:

  • tourism
  • procurement
  • up front and ongoing costs
  • risks and liability
  • long term financial planning
  • supporting local economy

Social Sustainability 

The bottom line of Social Sustainability requires consideration of social impacts and advantages for the local community and facilitating opportunities for responsible, sustainable growth. Including, but not limited to:

  • access and equity
  • culture and heritage
  • provision of community facilities and recreation
  • built environment
  • affordable housing and living
  • public health and safety
  • modern slavery
  • education
  • support services

Environmental Sustainability

Controlling our environmental bottom line requires managing, monitoring and reporting our emissions, consumption and waste. Including but not limited to:

  • energy
  • water
  • waste
  • biodiversity
  • air quality
  • pollution
  • climate change

What can I do?