By Carl Da-Costa-Greaves
Now that our economy’s been stripped back to basics and we’re starting to move out of recession, I’ve been wondering, what will be left in its place and also, what will move to top of agenda for the future?
Triple Bottom Line is something that I feel is worth mentioning here. There was a shift towards sustainable practices prior to the recession, this has sort of taken a back seat whilst everyone’s priority jumped to survival; but we’re moving out of that period and there’s certainly evidence of an increase in awareness for sustainability. That said, few companies’ have a strategy for sustainability, or even a stance on how they think about sustainable practices.
The triple bottom line – economic, social and environment – is a very practical method that’s gaining momentum for companies who want to become more actively involved with sustainability; more so to SME organisations. Rather than just focus on environmental issues, triple bottom line (TBL) understands that businesses have a responsibility to be financially viable and to turn a profit. Therefore, TBL considers the financial bottom line which is vital to the long term growth and economic success, along with social and environment responsibilities.
I see this change (2nd order) coming as a result of the recessions and it will be driven by consumers and stakeholders. Similar to what happened in the consumer markets with Organic and Fair-trade; food producers have adjusted their sustainability policies as result of consumer pressure. My prediction is that sustainability will begin to move up the value chain into the business markets.
So, what do we need to do about this? Well, the extent of this will be first seen by your field representatives such as; marketers and sales people in customer facing roles. It’s these people who’ll be able to gauge the response of your customers, see how they’re planning their sustainable practices and then use that knowledge to inform and influence the future decision of your company.
Some business owners would argue that business is business and not their place to consider sustainability issues. However, this view will simply not stack up any longer. If steps are not taken to make all businesses more sustainable, then there won’t be a business future at all.
This week sees ASDA criticised for sustainability performance and ranked the least green of the 5 big supermarkets. It will be interesting to see how consumers react to this news.
CIM, (2007) Shaping the Agenda. Triple Bottom Line.