9 Benefits of the Triple Bottom Line

Find out what the triple bottom line is and how it benefits local businesses. The triple bottom line philosophy refers to the social, environmental, and financial impact of your business.

As a local business, you realize the importance of boosting your profit bottom line, but have you also considered the other two? The triple bottom line theory expands the traditional idea of profit as your sole bottom line to include two other equally important factors: the social and environmental impacts of your company. Adopting this three-part philosophy can help your business in a multitude of ways, from becoming more sustainable to improving employee retention. Keep reading to learn more about this philosophy and the benefits of the triple bottom line for local businesses below.

What is the Triple Bottom Line?

Developed in 1994 by John Elkington, the triple bottom line is made up of three elements: people, planet, and profit. Arguing that any organization should take their performance analysis beyond the traditional measures of financial performance, Elkington’s book inspired many companies and organizations to adopt the philosophy. When combined, these three elements can help your business grow and expand while helping to create a sustainable future.


The first “P” is for people, and it refers to the social impacts of your business, including the treatment of your workforce, as well as the local community where you work and live. We believe a triple bottom line company will pay fair wages, provide appropriate employee benefits, honor employee agreements, and ensure safe work conditions.

Companies thriving with the triple bottom line theory also make an effort to give back to their community. They understand that giving back extends beyond merely monetary donations to include volunteering time and resources. Helping people in the community not only comes with a host of benefits for both the individuals or organizations whose lives are changed, but also for your business. We’ve experienced these benefits over and over again through our support of local initiatives like Dane Buy Local, Brat Fest, and the Madison Public Library Foundation.


The second “P” is for the planet, and this one focuses on the environmental impact of our actions as a business. Businesses who follow this philosophy will take important steps to become more sustainable by reducing waste, investing in renewable energy, managing resources efficiently, and improving overall business operations through the 5 Rs of sustainability. We consider the planet in all our day-to-day business operations, from powering our building on 100% wind to delivering your office supply orders in reusable totes. Our team collaborates to uncover anything we can do to mitigate the effects of our “throw-away” society.


Profit is the final element in the triple bottom line and is the most familiar one. Sustainable and triple bottom line-focused companies will understand that financial profitability doesn’t have to be diametrically opposite of “people” or “planet.” Instead, when all three Ps work together, you can arguably reap triple the benefits.

Benefits of the Triple Bottom Line

Join us in the socially-responsible business movement and realize benefits, such as:

  1. “Helper’s high” feel-good experiences
  2. Enhanced brand image and perception
  3. Higher employee retention rate
  4. Improved employee satisfaction
  5. Attraction of top talent
  6. Reduced carbon footprint
  7. Assurance that Dane County remains a great place to live and work
  8. New and exciting business opportunities from increasingly eco-conscious consumers
  9. Chance to further grow your business and improve your financial future

As you can see, there are many reasons to adopt the triple bottom line philosophy! By incorporating the social and environmental impacts of doing business into your operational flow, you can begin to reap these benefits of the triple bottom line – and much more.

For more articles on sustainability, giving back to the community, and improving the workplace, check out our blog today.

Shop our selection of eco-friendly office supplies online from our environmentally-responsible suppliers now as a guest, or call our local customer concierge to set up your business account at (608) 310-4300 today.

Image Courtesy of University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management