The Triple Bottom Line model of Sustainable Development was ratified by the United Nations and ICLEI in 2007 and has since played a very prominent role in public sector full cost accounting practices. The triple bottom line model captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social.
"People". Similar to human capital under the five capitals model, "people" here pertains to the beneficial business practices toward people, the community, and the region in which a corporation conducts its business. A triple bottom line company conceives a reciprocal social structure in which the well being of corporate, employees, staff, and other stakeholder interests are interdependent.
"Planet". Similar to natural capital under the five capitals model, "planet" refers to sustainable environmental and ecological practices. A company observing triple bottom line practices endeavors to benefit the natural order as much as possible or at the least do no harm and curtail environmental impact. This is achieved by reducing or restructuring the organizations ecological footprint by, among other things, carefully managing its consumption of energy and non-renewables and reducing or reusing manufacturing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner.
"Profit". Profit is the economic value created by the organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of the capital tied up. It therefore can differ from some accounting definitions of profit. Within a sustainability framework, the "profit" aspect needs to be seen as the real economic benefit enjoyed by the host society. It is the real economic impact the organization has on its economic environment. This is often confused to be limited to the internal profit made by a company or organization (which nevertheless remains an essential starting point for the computation). Therefore, an original triple bottom line approach cannot solely be interpreted as simply traditional corporate accounting profit plus social and environmental impacts unless the "profits" of other entities are included as a social benefits.
Through discussion of this and other models of sustainable development, it is not the intention of KCX to indicate that the focus of our activities is on the promotion of any one model. Rather, by discussing various models we hope to acknowledge the value of sustainability as an aid to understanding future economic development around the world.