I came accross the concept of the “Triple Bottom Line” Business Model the other day. It is something I have done most of my life but never knew there was actually a concept out there that people train in and talk about.

The Triple Bottom Line is People, Planet, and Profit. They stand equal in importance.

The traditional business model has one bottom line: Profit. The other two elements might be considered if they increase the profits or at the very least don’t harm the profits but rarely otherwise.

The triple bottom line understands the interconnectedness of the world, that one thing can’t benefit without other things benefiting. And vice versa: if one thing benefits at the expense of another thing then that eventually is not a sustainable process.

The Triple Bottom Line is the most effective business model for long term profit. And not only financial. The “whole’ profits, from people to everything else.

I feel that it is actually a double bottom line: Planet and Profits. People are included in the planet. To list People as a third element is somehow saying they separate from the planet.

And quite honestly it really is only one bottom line: Planet. If the planet is doing well then humans are doing well and profit is included in that equation.

But I’m not going to split hairs at this point. The Triple Bottom Line is a great start. It helps us focus on and bring together three things that often are at odds with each other.