Triple Bottom Line Reporting on Corporate Sustainability Essay

In this paper we explore the construct of ternary bottom line coverage and its usage in estimating the degree of corporate sustainability. The construct of ternary bottom line coverage is shown to be effectual in guaranting that the corporate sustainability concerns are addressed and concern takes history of the results. This is done utilizing a reappraisal of relevant literature in order to indicate out the success factors every bit good as the menaces that face TBL coverage plans.


The modern-day corporate environment and civilization has been steadily tilting towards the increasing demand of higher degrees of transparence and answerability in respect to public coverage every bit good as communicating. This is a tendency that demands for increased revelation of the nature and degree of corporate public presentation and battles in affairs of social-economic and environmental dimensions ( G100 2003 ) .In a nutshell, the populace is in demand of information sing the degree of sustainability in which assorted corporations engage in. In order to estimate the degree of sustainability, it is of import that a criterion of describing be adopted. Ternary Bottom Line coverage is one of the techniques of describing sustainability.

The definition of TBL coverage

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A standard definition of ternary bottom line coverage does non be. This therefore means that no universally accepted definition exists. It can slackly be defined as the a signifier of corporate communicating which engages stakeholders and holds the key to the corporation ‘s recognized attack to the direction of societal, economic and environmental dimensions via clearly instituted communicating channel that provides information on the above mentioned three dimensions ( G100 2003 ) . The elements of societal, economic and eventually the environmental dimensions in an organisation are what constitutes sustainability/sustainable development.TBL can therefore fundamentally be used to mention to the official publication of societal, economic and environmental information of a given concern entity in a mode that is integrated to reflect both the activities every bit good as the consequences of a corporation ‘s public presentation on the footing of the three dimensions.

The factors driving the general tendency towards the acceptance of TBL coverage

There are rather a figure of factors that are driving corporation towards the acceptance of TBL coverage. Some of these factors are ; compulsory demands, the demand to be consistent with the high degree of public watchfulness on the corporate codification of behaviour, and the addition in the degree of stakeholder demand for high degree of transparence every bit good as consequences.

The thought of “ Triple Bottom Line ” ( TBL ) coverage has in the old twelvemonth ‘s become increasingly more fashionable in organisations ; confer withing houses, investing houses, and besides the NGOs extensively employ it in the direction of their operations. The idea lies behind the TBL theoretical account is that a house ‘s concluding can be gauged non simply by the customary fiscal terminal consequence, but once more by its societal, moral every bit good as ecological public presentation. For rather a long clip, the bulk persons who are both in the corporate universe and outside have come to an understanding that organisations are required by the stakeholders to execute their undertakings responsibly. Firms are non capable of booming in the long tally when they invariably ignore the involvements of the chief stakeholders. The apparent singularity of TBL is lying in the contention of its protagonists that the general achievement of duties to the society, workers, clients, and providers ought to be calculated, reviewed and the information provided to the stakeholders the same manner that the fiscal consequences of public corporations is being conducted. If we strongly believe that moral patterns of the concern and besides societal duty are important intents of corporate authorization and disposal, so we ought to accept the attempts to come up with tools that are capable of doing much clearer to the decision makers, stockholders besides the other stakeholders how good a corporation is executing in this respect. This paper looks at the utility of TBL, the advantages of socially responsible patterns by the concerns, and the likely effectivity of tools that are capable of being used to measure and describe on public presentation.

Triple bottom line coverage is doing houses apt for non merely economic and societal effects but besides for environmental consequences of making concerns. Indeed it is an recognized accounting signifier for the non-profit-making organisations and besides the governmental organisations to show their dedication to corporate societal duties. To these houses, both the ecological and besides societal public presentation besides important the manner fiscal public presentation is of import.

The construct of ternary bottom line coverage was originally applied by John Elkington in the twelvemonth 1995. He published a book refering this subject in the twelvemonth 1998. The book was entitled “ Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of twenty-first Century Business. ” Indeed, Triple bottom line coverage has got thrust in all sectors and industries and non for the non for net income devising organisations and besides for authorities organisations as it has been presumed.

As stated above, the term ‘triple underside line ‘ was purportedly invented by John Elkington in the twelvemonth 1995 ( Sarre & A ; Treuren 2001 ) despite the fact that it was non made popular until the book that he published became widespread in the twelvemonth 1997.

The Triple Bottom Line ( TBL ) is an thought that has got authorized imprimatur as a construction to give assurance to the organisational concerns sing sustainability. Despite the fact that at first it was viewed as a mere thought or a method of believing about sustainability, similar to the impression of corporate societal duty, it has now become a device for both accounting and coverage. Other writers are reasoning that Triple Bottom Line is basically imperfect in the things it is offering, and besides, they are stating it is transmitted by advocates who are chiefly uninformed of the other attacks that are in being.

The Function of Triple bottom line coverage

Triple bottom line coverage needs the corporations to socially be responsible to both the stockholders and besides to every stakeholder of the several houses. Stakeholders normally entail all the stockholders, workers, clients, goods and services suppliers and any other individual who is influenced by the events and proceedings of the concern. It is demanding that a house be apt for all the facets of the concern.

The Benefits of Triple bottom line coverage

The societal characteristic of ternary bottom line coverage is concentrating on sensible intervention of a house ‘s human resources. in add-on to the proviso of a safe topographic point of work and besides sensible wage for workers, being responsible socially involve executing responsible and helpful concern patterns in the community the surrounds the concern. Triple bottom line coverage is necessitating a corporation to be involved in sustainable ecological activities. Corporations and houses ought to set great attempts to conserve the milieus, or to significantly minimise the injury that they are bring downing on to the milieus. A corporation utilizing ternary bottom line coverage is capable of pull offing the use of energy, minimizes waste, recycles resources and besides shuns the production of really unsafe substances like chemicals and arms.

The Significance of Triple bottom line coverage

When a concern appears to be both socially and environmentally responsible to its clients, it will be capable of maximising the net incomes that it is doing. It is really common state of affairs to see many companies doing headlines because of being involved in accounting dirts, giving their workers really unfair wages, insecure work conditions and bias. All these studies are impacting the repute of the houses that are involved besides their good will, thereby ensuing into the doomed of many grosss. Besides, concentrating on more things merely net incomes can assist a company unfastened market potency that was unachievable earlier. Companies may besides lose market portion to other viing concerns that are using ternary bottom line coverage because they appear more socially responsible to consumers.

TBL is capable of doing a house to make the untapped market. Indeed TBL houses are capable of happening niches that are financially profitable, and which were antecedently missed by the houses when their drive force was money merely.

TBL is capable of developing extremely profitable ways to help the NGOs that are in being with their missions like fundraisings, acquiring to the clients, or bring forthing networking chances with other legion NGOs.It is besides capable of supplying goods and services which will be of great usage to the populations that are pine awaying in poorness.

It is capable of doing concerns to go familiar with new concern ventures. Due to the fact that legion concern chances are coming up in the domain of societal entrepreneurship, the concerns that are holding hopes of making this turning market have to fix themselves of being profitable financially, socially helpful and economically sustainable or else they will non be able to vie with the houses which are non planing themselves that manner. For case, merely trade and ethical Trade houses need moral and sustainable patterns from every provider supplying them with goods and services. Any concerns that are holding programs of working with the houses that are covering in merely Trade or moral Trade have to plan the theoretical accounts of their concern to go TBL.

Firms normally issue TBL studies chiefly for two intents: to run into the demands of the investors and besides to be recognized for the actions that the houses do. For case, houses like Shell and Nike have in the past applied this sort of describing to enable them reconstruct the reputes of their houses after holding received negative exposure for inefficient ecological and societal determinations Tschopp ( 2003 )

Firms are normally being scrutinized both by the media coverage and public watchdog groups. It is an undeniable fact that the persons who are capable of guaranting that their houses have good reputes in environmental preservation and societal policies will hold to win. Those disregarding duties as such will likely neglect Tschopp ( 2003 )

Firms are besides capable of acquiring fiscal advantages from TBL describing. The houses will be able to acquire attending from the new investors. Similarly, they will pin down new employees as they maintain their current workers. TBL describing licenses transparence of a house ‘s environmental and societal projects, restrictions, and ends of the old ages to come. Firms that are endeavoring for success are capable of run intoing eligibility criterions and they can be members of some environmental and societal financess. When the houses fail to accomplish the demands, their stock public presentation can be hindered ( Tschopp 2003 ) . Ternary underside coverage has been shown to hold several benefits. The first on is that it improves the repute of an organisation. It besides has a positive influence on the trade name name of the house every bit good as its merchandises. The repute of a corporation is a map of the mode in which it is perceived by the stakeholders. Having an effectual method of pass oning with the stakeholders on the societal, economic and environmental dimensions can move really good in altering the perceptual experiences of the stakeholders and in the procedure bettering the repute of the corporation. The other benefits of TBL coverage are that it aids the corporation to openly run in the society. In this context, it acts as a kind of a licence to enable the concern to run freely by the virtuousness of the support, credence and recognition that it receives from the stakeholders. The transparence in communicating and answerability in actions are what makes it possible for the corporations to be granted the ‘license ‘ to run. The remainder are outlined below

Through the integrating of sustainability into the concern theoretical accounts and believing, houses are capable of recognizing these seven undersides line benefits:

It will be really easy to engage the best employees. Research workers are gauging that the extremely important corporate resource after 20 old ages for any organisation is normally gifted workers. Majority of them normally pay great concentration to corporate societal duties and besides to the environmental behaviour of the houses for which they are working. TBL consequences into greater withholding of the top endowments. It is really disputing for houses to maintain their most talented and most skilled workers in the present market that is characterized by a batch of competition. Surveies are nevertheless demoing that the skilled workers normally tend to go on remaining with a house when they are holding meaningful work. TBL is besides capable of maximising the productiveness of the workers. There is a large connexion that exists between of import occupation and productiveness. The directors of organisations should affect the whole house in sustainable growing ends such as nothing emanations, independent energy production, and no disposal of waste and assisting in the preservation of environment, the house will acquire much more back from the workers.

Enhancement of repute and trade name

Efficient communicating with the stockholders and besides the stakeholders on one or more dimensions of TBL is capable of playing a important function in the direction of the perceptual experiences of the stakeholders. This will non merely protect but besides heighten the corporate repute of the houses.

Procuring a societal licence to run

Having a good repute, the members of the community and the stakeholders will strongly back up the operations of the organisation. The environing communities will likely supply more support to the houses because they are pass oning openly and besides, they are honest about the public presentation of the houses in relation to environment factors, societal factors and besides to economic factors.

Attraction and keeping of high quality employees

Through the publication of the information sing TBL, the information is capable of playing a important function in positioning the employer as the employer to work with. This is capable of heightening worker trueness, cut downing turnover and besides capable of pulling skilled workers.

Reduced hazard profile

During TBL ‘s coverage, houses normally indicate their duty to minimise hazard. This normally takes topographic point during the times of turning legal action, where owed diligence is capable of being established and a house comes up with hazards, the hazards can be managed better. Consecutively this is capable of progressing the dealingss of the stakeholder and hence makes it simpler to pull investing capital and accordingly positively act upon the monetary value of the portions.

Designation of possible cost nest eggs

TBL coverage is affecting the mixture and examination of information on resource, the use of stuffs and the rating of concern procedures. This is capable of really assisting the houses to place the chances that are present for nest eggs of costs through effectual and efficient allotment of both resources and materials.TBL is accompanied by minimized disbursals at the commercial sites.numerous unneeded waste normally go on at the non-manufacturing countries. Through the employment of more reasonable handling of wastes, effectivity of energy, preservation of H2O and established landscape gardening ( Ann 2003 )

Reduced hazard, easier funding

Firms that are demoing both the environmental and societal duty ever is likely to be seen as less unsafe. That is capable of interpreting into the turning away of cost, minimized insurance premiums, minimized functionary and regulative costs, and equivocation of losing gross from client reformer actions ( Ann 2003 ) .

The desirable qualities of a TBL study.

A good TBL study has the undermentioned qualities and features.

Reliable- a good TBL study should be accurate and should supply information that is true sing the activities every bit good as public presentation of a given corporation. The study should be utile significance that the information contained should hold a high degree of relevancy to the stakeholders ( both internal and external ) the information should be relevant to the corporate determination doing procedure. The TBL study should exert and exhibit full revelation significance that the content should hold unfastened accounts. The study should be consistent in order to let for the on-going publication of the information contained for the intent of describing in the hereafter. The study should hold a high degree of auditability. This means that the study should be holding the quality of being able to be verified externally ( G100 2003 ) .

The challenges that affect the usage of TBL coverage

Angela Lewis Consulting ( n.d ) pointed out that the two chief jobs confronting the usage of TBL coverage are that it lacks a cosmopolitan method of gauging/measuring its success. The deduction of this is that there is no societal, economic, environmental or ethical equivalents of assets, liabilities, equity, disbursals and gross. The other one is that there is no numerical method of accurately depicting consumer, environmental or community benefits. Rafiq ( 2010 ) pointed out that the other challenges to TLB coverage are informal corporate civilization, deficiency of apprehension by the top direction, deficiency of human resources capacity, Lack of support from the authorities and other development bureaus, opposition by in private listed houses to uncover their fiscal information, resource restraints that affect SMEs and a general deficiency of public service orientation.


Despite the challenges impacting TBL coverage, extant literature reveal that it is so a success since it has its benefits outweighing the challenges. It is hence important that all houses embrace TBL coverage since it pays to be societal responsible.



Angel Lewis Consulting, n.d. The Triple Bottom Line Explained:

hypertext transfer protocol: // % 20Triple % 20Bottom % 20Line % 20Explained.pdf

Anne, P, A. 2003. The Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple

Bottom Line. ( Book Review ) .CMA direction.

John Elkington, J. 1997 Cannibals With Forks: The Triple. Bottom Line of twenty-first Century Business.

Finishing touch, . Oxford,402 pp. ISBN 1-900961-27-X

G 100, 2003.Sustainability: A usher to treble underside coverage

hypertext transfer protocol: //

Rafiq, M.2010. Major Challenges – for TBL Reporting in Pakistan

hypertext transfer protocol: //

Sarre, R. & A ; Treuren, G. 2001. The ternary bottom line: reconciliation societal, environmental

and fiscal results in concern ( paper prepared for the South Australian

Business Vision 2010 ) ( online resource )

hypertext transfer protocol: // [ accessed

26 February 2004 ] .

Tschopp, D. 2003. It ‘s Time for Triple Bottom Line Accounting. The CPA Journal. 73 ( 12 ) : 11.


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