The 3Ps of sustainability – People, Planet, and Profit – enable a company to harness its complete potential and add real value to its business. In a post-COVID world, companies are quickly responding to the need for a greener, renewable and sustainable business strategy which can withstand unforeseen circumstances. Companies have to adapt a perspective where they prioritize multiple stakeholders rather than focusing on only churning revenue. In this series, we will discuss the ‘People’ aspect of the Triple Bottom Line and what it means for a company’s transition to sustainability.
The ‘People’ or social equity bottom line represents the right, well-being, and development of the people involved in a company’s establishment and development. It ensures better working conditions and overall fair treatment of not only a company’s employees but also all the workers who are involved in the value chain.
Additionally, the ‘People’ aspect of the Triple Bottom Line also includes other stakeholders such as the community within which an organization operates. This means that the company had to take up social responsibilities which contribute to the improvement of several social factors such as workers’ wages, education, human rights, and so on.
It can be said that ‘People’ in 3Ps or the social equity bottom line helps businesses identify and manage the key impacts that it has on society.
Source: John Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line
The first 6 of the UN Global Compact focus on the social equity bottom line. It covers several dimensions such as human rights for specific labor groups, women’s empowerment, and gender equity. It also looks deeply into gender equality, child rights, and rights of indigenous people and people with disabilities. All of this contributes to a people-centric approach for businesses giving them the scope for social sustainability while addressing a diverse group of improvement projects such as health and education.
Source: UN Global Compact
The UN states that “At a minimum, we expect businesses to undertake due diligence to avoid harming human rights and to address any adverse impacts on human rights that may be related to their activities. As a complement, not as a substitute for respecting rights, businesses can also take additional steps:
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
According to the Forum of Responsible and Sustainable Investment, “Between 2016 and 2018, sustainable, responsible, and impact investing grew at a more than 38 percent rate, rising from $8.7 trillion in 2016 to $12 trillion in 2018, according to the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.”
The social pillar determines a company’s activities and the consequences they have on the social structure. Companies are actively encouraged to combat discrimination and evolve inclusive policies within the company’s structure. Most companies today get involved in social dialogue and participate to promote transparency, adaptable work hours, and workers’ well-being.
On a global ground, a business needs to be more aware of what kind of impact its supply chain can have. Who are the affected stakeholders? How can the business increase value for workers throughout the supply chain? And how can they sustain that value? These are the objectives that companies have to address to improve their strategy toward sustainability.
Our latest business simulation game, The Triple Connection, engages its participants in implementing a sustainable strategy for a virtual chocolate milk manufacturer. The Triple Connection finds its roots in the cacao industry and follows the path to create maximum value in its sustainable value chain. This kind of value creation requires multiple high-level roles to align on the concept of the 3Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity!
Now you know that ‘People’ in the 3Ps or the social equity bottom line represents the business’s responsibility to involve in social development. It harnesses 6 out of 10 principles of the UN Global Compact which covers several dimensions including women’s empowerment, labor rights, and employees’ welfare. The social equity bottom line expands through fair practices that benefit the labor and employees across the value chain and also create a positive impact on social communities.
The innovative web-based business simulation game, The Triple Connection, engages its participants in implementing a sustainable strategy for a virtual chocolate milk manufacturer. Participants will be confronted with various real-life, real-time dilemmas. They will be compelled to make decisions that are critical to maintaining a fair balance between profitability and sustainability.