Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 6: Triple Bottom Line

Something interesting this week, while talking about the tripled bottom line, is the question of "why are more companies embracing this while it leads to bigger initial costs?" As discussed in class, this triple bottom line is made up of economic, environmental, and social causes. Unlike the traditional business approach of simply looking at the economic side of things, it strives to find the best balance of all three. One idea that I have heard throughout my time at UNCG is that these businesses are looking at all of these because it looks better for them as a company if they are seen to care about more than their own company. If they at least appear to care, consumers will be drawn to them and in the end it will have served to give them more business and more profits in the long run.
Others say that these people simply strive to have a triple bottom line because they sincerely care. I am sure that there is a wide spectrum of all of these people in the business world. One company that has such goals in their mission statement is Starbucks. They are by no means a social organization, but it can be argued that they are striving to have a triple bottom line.

"The following six guidelines will help us measure the appropriateness of our
(1) Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and
(2) Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
(3) Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting
and fresh delivery of our coffee.
(4) Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time
(5) Contribute positively to our communities and our environment
(6) Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success" ("Starbucks corporation," 2010)

Within guideline number 5, there is obviously a social component to their goals, number 6 gives the obvious economic motivation, and less obviously in number 3 you can find the environmental motivation as well. Starbucks uses C.A.F.E. practices to help farmers in other countries, and they only partner with farmers who use a certain caliber of farming practices. I learned this because I work at Starbucks and have had this information constantly drilled into my memory. This is how Starbucks justifies charging between 11.05-13.00 dollars per pound of coffee. It takes money to do the right thing. This is an interesting dilemma. This is possibly why many companies have shied away from the triple bottom line int he past. Yet, because consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their spending, they are becoming more willing to spend more to make a difference, and they are even DEMANDING companies to go green, etc.

I believe we will see an increase in this concept and thought process for years to come.

Hopefully it will be the norm in several years...and social entrepreneurs will be the ones to push this through to its completion through passion and innovation.


Starbucks Corporation. (2010). Retrieved from

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