Triple bottom line has to be understood beyond just responsibility, says sustainability guru

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 8): The notion of the triple bottom line (TBL) has to be understood beyond just responsibility, says renown author and sustainability guru John Elkington.

Speaking at The Cooler Earth Conference organised by CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Elkington said that until now people have been focusing mostly on the issue of responsibility when it came to TBL. 

As such, he said many leaders both in the corporate and government sector are starting to see the need for resilience, with Covid-19 serving as an impetus for some.

“The only way we will be able to create resilience is regeneration,” said Elkington, who is known for creating the TBL concept.

As such, developing solutions for systemic problems will help create more resilient economies and businesses, but also allow for the regeneration of economies worldwide, he said. 

The founder of Volans added that in order to future proof businesses and economies, there must be systemic change when it comes to how businesses and economies are run.

Elkington first developed the term TBL in 1994. Under this management style, companies not only have to look at their monetary and business growth and impact, but also look at how they impact the social and physical environments that they operate in. 

In his talk today, Elkington noted that many companies are changing from looking at the business case for sustainability, to actually looking at business models, when it comes to having socially and environmentally sustainable businesses. 

Therefore, there is a recognition that there is a need for environmentally and socially sustainable business practices, he said.

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