What does it mean to be a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) business?


For some this term is new, and for others its meaning is somewhat ambiguous; therefore, a call for a more concrete and comprehensive definition is necessary.

John Elkington, founder of SustainAbility and first to coin the TBL designation in 1994, describes the Triple Bottom Line as a way to “coevolve a shared vision of a radically better future” that does not solely focus on a financial bottom line but incorporates social and environmental impact (The Breakthrough Challenge).

Triple Pundit describes triple bottom line thinking as tying “the social and environmental impact of an organization’s activities to its economic performance.” Triple Pundit argues that “the economy, environment, and society are inseparably related, and an understanding of all three is critical to society’s ability to flourish long term.”

The Economist explains that the triple bottom line “consists of three Ps: profit, people and planet. It aims to measure the financial, social and environmental performance of [a] corporation over a period of time. Only a company that produces a TBL is taking account of the full cost involved in doing business.”

How do I know if I am a TBL business?

  1. Are you building a profitable enterprise that also serves community needs, shares wealth, and protects the environment?
  2. Do you envision a future where businesses are investors in the quality of life for all citizens?
  3. Are you ready to join a community that demonstrates how business can be a force for good?
  4. Are you committed to continuing to learn how to improve your social, environmental, and economic impact?

If you said “Yes” to all four questions, then your business is ready to join SBN and our collective vision to build a just, green, and thriving local economy.


Who are SBN members?


SBN members are local independent businesses that demonstrates the degree to which businesses can build profitable enterprises while serving community needs, sharing wealth and protecting the environment.

Do I qualify for membership?


What if I don’t qualify for a business membership?


If you would like to enjoy the benefits of membership and don’t qualify as a business member, you are encouraged to support SBN as a sponsor. You would enjoy all of the benefits of a business membership plus additional visibility.

Is there a way for me to join SBN or renew my membership online?


Yes. You can join SBN online. Current members can renew their membership by logging into the member section of the website and clicking on Renew.