The Triple Bottom Line Approach

Dickinson College approaches its finances from a Triple Bottom Line perspective, i.e., the management of three bottom lines or net business outcomes: financial, social and environmental. Increasingly, both for-profit and non-profit organizations are pursuing outcomes that balance economic prosperity, environmental quality and social justice.

The Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainability is also known as the People, Planet and Profit approach. People references human capital and constitutes fair labor policies and organizational practices that benefit the surrounding community. Planet pertains to natural capital and encompasses the actions of organizations to safeguard and enhance our natural environment. Profit concerns financial capital and addresses the need for economic benefits that ensure the long-term viability of both the organization and the community in which it operates. (John Elkington, Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. Wiley & Sons, 1997.)