The Triple Bottom Line | Andrew Savitz

Summary of: The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success — And How You Can Too
By: Andrew Savitz


Delve into ‘The Triple Bottom Line’ and discover how well-run companies are achieving success in the realms of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Andrew Savitz outlines how big players like Unilever, GE, and PepsiCo have benefited by incorporating sustainable thinking into their business strategies. The book sheds light on the era of accountability and how companies can navigate this through sustainability initiatives, stakeholder engagement, and reporting progress towards positive Triple Bottom Line outcomes. Learn from real-life examples and gain insightful guidance on how your company can find its sustainability sweet spot and secure long-term benefits.

The Sustainability Sweet Spot

Unilever’s Project Shakti trains Indian women to sell its products to rural markets, doubling their personal incomes, while increasing Unilever’s market penetration in an emerging market. This move supports the company’s business strategy to enter developing markets, sell personal care products, create innovative healthy foods, and strengthen bonds with customers, distributors, and retailers. GE’s Ecoimagination program, aimed at helping customers reduce carbon emissions, and PepsiCo’s shift towards healthful products also show that sustainable business is good business. Leading investment banks believe that companies that manage environmental, social, and corporate governance properly will be more competitive and outperform other market indices. A strong sustainability record requires operational excellence and signals to the market that the company is well run, agile, and in touch with customers. Furthermore, a positive sustainability record can boost brand value.

The Four Benefits of Engineering Sustainability

Engineering sustainability into your company’s operations brings with it a host of benefits that include reputation enhancement, increased sales growth, lean business operation, and ensuring business protection. The example of Monsanto highlights the importance of educating the public on the costs and benefits of your product, while STMicroelectronics’ environmental improvements prove that a sustainable approach can lead to significant savings. Similarly, Hindustan Lever Ltd’s focus on meeting some of the neediest areas of the world’s basic sanitation and hygiene needs led to sales of over $2.5 billion. By prioritizing sustainability, your company can gain new customers, while increasing its bottom line.

The Age of Accountability

Today’s world demands a new level of accountability from businesses, forcing companies to adopt sustainable practices. The shifting of power from the public to the private sector puts added responsibility on businesses of all sizes, who are now being held accountable for the economic, environmental, and social problems they face. Information travels faster than ever before, and one perception of wrongdoing can quickly damage a company’s reputation. With over 117 democratic countries, government bodies and citizens alike are pressuring companies to act responsibly and transparently regardless of size. The traditional concept of “arm’s length transactions” are no longer the norm, and interdependent relationships with suppliers, customers, and stakeholders require mutually beneficial solutions. Data continues to emphasize Earth’s fragility, and social consciousness in popular culture has intensified. As such, shareholders and investors are becoming more involved in non-financial public issues, with more shareholder resolutions on sustainability topics today than ever before. Activist groups such as NGOs exert more influence than ever and are increasingly trusted. The message in today’s world is clear: businesses that ignore sustainability must adjust to the “Age of Accountability.”

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