The Triple Bottom Line

Book Review: The Triple Bottom Line by Andrew W. Savitz

Dave Kinnear 1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

It’s time to pull Savitz’s book off the shelf and re-read it! This 2006 book is more relevant now than ever and the surviving companies of this present economic reset will be employing many of the ideas discussed in the Triple Bottom Line.

What is the “Triple Bottom Line (TBL)?” Savitz claims that we will all need to be paying attention to maximizing the Economic, Environmental and Social impacts of the business. TBL captures the fundamental measurements needed to build a sustainable business model. It provides a kind of balanced scorecard that captures “in numbers and words the degree to which any company is or is not creating value for its shareholders and for society.”

Sustainability is much in the news today. A recent LA Times article discussed how California is now in a serious water supply crisis. The global warming issue (regardless of what you think the cause may be) is on the front burner. Consumers and employees are now looking for companies that are authentically concerned about and address the major sustainability challenges we all face.

In part I of his book, Savitz provides anecdotal data and case studies on The Sustainability Imperative. He gives examples of companies that simply didn’t get it (and a couple still don’t today), and those who did things right. He takes into account the fact that our companies are a mere blog posting away from sever public scrutiny – regardless of the accuracy of any claim.
Part II of TBL provides some ideas and outlines for “How Sustainability Can Work for You.” Clear examples of “real life companies” are provided to emphasize the points being made concerning inclusion of ALL stakeholders. Practical advice is given on how to manage stakeholder engagements and their challenges.

In the Epilog and Appendix, Savitz gives practical action steps to merging private profit with public good. The concept of business as being ONLY for profit will no longer suffice. That is proving to be true in just three short years since Savitz published his book. A very good read and food for thought on corporate governance.

Get the book at Amazon.