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Are You Implementing the 3 Ps of Sustainability? Experts Say You Should.

The three Ps, or triple bottom line, are a great way for an organization to measure its sustainability.

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Want to create a sustainability plan for your company? The "3 Ps" is a good place to start.

First developed by author and serial entrepreneur John Elkington, the 3 Ps, or "triple bottom line," focuses on profits, people, and the planet. Finding the proper balance of the 3 Ps within your organization can help you weigh your green plan's impact on social responsibility (people), economic profitability (profit), and eco-friendliness (planet).


People are a company's most important resource. When examining this component of the triple bottom line, an organization should be honest about the negative and positive impacts they have on people within and outside the organization.

Growing a positive reputation among your employees and the community will only benefit the organization in the long run. You want to satisfy the current generation of workers and community members without compromising the future. This should include safety, health, equality, and positive personal relationships.

Related: 4 Reasons Sustainability Will Benefit Your Business and Satisfy The Growing Trend of Green-Hungry Customers


Consider what impact on the environment your company has, weighing both the positive and negative impacts. Some elements to consider include the carbon footprint a company is leaving, any association with toxic materials, and how natural resources are utilized.

Companies should also look at their work to help the environment — removing waste, reforestation, and doing their best to manage and improve on any harm done to the environment.

An organization can implement this concept into its plans in several different ways. For example, consider using local suppliers rather than international ones. Less transport is also good for the environment. Look to recycle and use sustainable materials within production and at the office. This might also include switching to a more digital footprint, erasing paper, and wasteful by-products.

Related: The U.S. Announces Historic Discovery In Renewable Energy. 'The Sky's the Limit.'


The third P — profit — goes beyond a traditional outlook on the bottom line and focuses more on the greater economy. How many jobs are being created? Which innovations result in economic gains?

The ultimate goal is to produce profit without waste. Also, you want to ensure you are offering a useful product not already available in abundance in the market.

Related: What Does a Sustainability Chief Do?

Over the year, the three Ps have grown in importance in the business world. Companies have noticed that greater long-term profitability will arise if their company becomes more sustainable.

There is no uniform definition for the inputs for each category, so the three Ps model gives organizations the flexibility to adapt the formula and apply the concept in a way that makes sense for their unique situation.

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