Triple Bottom Line (TBL)

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Definition of 'Triple Bottom Line (TBL)'

The triple bottom line (TBL) is an accounting framework that expands the traditional financial bottom line to include social and environmental factors. It is also known as sustainability accounting, corporate social responsibility (CSR) accounting, or sustainability reporting.

The TBL was developed in the early 1990s by John Elkington, a British sustainability expert. Elkington argued that companies should not only be concerned with their profits, but also with their impact on society and the environment. He proposed that companies should report on their performance in three areas:

* **Economic:** This includes the company's financial performance, such as its profits and losses.
* **Social:** This includes the company's impact on its employees, customers, and the community in which it operates.
* **Environmental:** This includes the company's impact on the environment, such as its emissions of greenhouse gases and its use of natural resources.

The TBL has been adopted by a growing number of companies around the world. These companies believe that the TBL is a more accurate way to measure their performance and that it can help them to make more sustainable decisions.

The TBL has several advantages over traditional financial accounting. First, it provides a more holistic view of a company's performance. Second, it can help companies to identify and manage risks. Third, it can help companies to attract and retain customers and employees.

However, the TBL also has some limitations. First, it can be difficult to measure social and environmental impacts. Second, it can be difficult to compare the performance of different companies using the TBL. Third, the TBL is not required by law, so some companies may not be willing to adopt it.

Despite these limitations, the TBL is an important concept that is gaining increasing recognition. It is a valuable tool for companies that want to measure their impact on society and the environment and that want to make more sustainable decisions.

Here are some examples of how companies are using the TBL:

* **Nike:** Nike has been a leader in sustainability for many years. The company has set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact, such as reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. Nike also reports on its social impact, such as its efforts to improve working conditions in its factories.
* **Google:** Google has a strong commitment to sustainability. The company has set goals to reduce its energy use and water consumption, and to increase its use of renewable energy. Google also reports on its social impact, such as its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
* **Patagonia:** Patagonia is a company that is committed to protecting the environment. The company has a strong focus on sustainability, and it uses recycled and sustainable materials in its products. Patagonia also donates a portion of its profits to environmental causes.

These are just a few examples of how companies are using the TBL. The TBL is a growing trend, and it is likely that we will see more companies adopting it in the future.

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