Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues?

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) concept is increasingly being used by organisations to report on how they are responding to sustainability issues under the headings of environmental, social and economic performance. Through the development of sustainability-related objectives under these headings and matching each objective with an appropriate indicator, organisations are able to monitor and evaluate their actions thereby improving their capacity to respond. However, the predominant way in which the TBL concept is used has its problems. Actions related to the economic dimension are frequently restricted to the organisation’s financial performance rather than its effects on the broader economy. Similarly, it can be difficult for organisations to find ways to contribute to broader social sustainability issues beyond what it does for its own employees. Probably the greatest challenge is to facilitate decision-making where trade-offs across the TBL dimensions are necessary. This paper evaluates the usefulness of the TBL concept drawing on experience with Murrumbidgee Irrigation and a review of other case studies in the literature. We argue that TBL reporting can enable organisations to better manage their response to the sustainability challenge when TBL reporting is approached as an iterative learning cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers
Subtitle of host publicationmaking a difference
Place of PublicationThurgoona, Australia
PublisherCharles Sturt University
Pages270-275
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780646474793
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventAustralian Stream Management Conference - Albury, New South Wales, Australia, Australia
Duration: 21 May 200725 May 2007

Conference

ConferenceAustralian Stream Management Conference
CountryAustralia
Period21/05/0725/05/07

Fingerprint

Sustainability
Triple bottom line
Social performance
Trade-offs
Irrigation
Financial performance
Decision making
Environmental performance
Economics
Usefulness
Economic performance
Social sustainability
Learning cycle
Employees

Cite this

Mitchell, M., Curtis, A., & Davidson, P. (2007). Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues? In 5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers: making a difference (pp. 270-275). Thurgoona, Australia: Charles Sturt University.
Mitchell, Michael ; Curtis, Allan ; Davidson, Penny. / Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues?. 5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers: making a difference. Thurgoona, Australia : Charles Sturt University, 2007. pp. 270-275
@inproceedings{448fa946fc0a475abf819e688a639df4,
title = "Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues?",
abstract = "The ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) concept is increasingly being used by organisations to report on how they are responding to sustainability issues under the headings of environmental, social and economic performance. Through the development of sustainability-related objectives under these headings and matching each objective with an appropriate indicator, organisations are able to monitor and evaluate their actions thereby improving their capacity to respond. However, the predominant way in which the TBL concept is used has its problems. Actions related to the economic dimension are frequently restricted to the organisation’s financial performance rather than its effects on the broader economy. Similarly, it can be difficult for organisations to find ways to contribute to broader social sustainability issues beyond what it does for its own employees. Probably the greatest challenge is to facilitate decision-making where trade-offs across the TBL dimensions are necessary. This paper evaluates the usefulness of the TBL concept drawing on experience with Murrumbidgee Irrigation and a review of other case studies in the literature. We argue that TBL reporting can enable organisations to better manage their response to the sustainability challenge when TBL reporting is approached as an iterative learning cycle.",
keywords = "Open access version available, Collaborative planning, NRM monitoring, Organisational learning, Process evaluation",
author = "Michael Mitchell and Allan Curtis and Penny Davidson",
note = "Imported on 03 May 2017 - DigiTool details were: publisher = Thurgoona, Australia: Charles Sturt University, 2007. editor/s (773b) = Wilson, Andrea , Dehaan, Remy , Watts, Robyn , Page, Ken , Bowmer, Kath , Curtis, Allan ,; Event dates (773o) = 21-25 May 2007; Parent title (773t) = Australian Stream Management Conference.",
year = "2007",
language = "English",
pages = "270--275",
booktitle = "5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers",
publisher = "Charles Sturt University",
address = "Australia",

}

Mitchell, M, Curtis, A & Davidson, P 2007, Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues? in 5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers: making a difference. Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona, Australia, pp. 270-275, Australian Stream Management Conference, Australia, 21/05/07.

Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues? / Mitchell, Michael; Curtis, Allan; Davidson, Penny.

5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers: making a difference. Thurgoona, Australia : Charles Sturt University, 2007. p. 270-275.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

TY - GEN

T1 - Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues?

AU - Mitchell, Michael

AU - Curtis, Allan

AU - Davidson, Penny

N1 - Imported on 03 May 2017 - DigiTool details were: publisher = Thurgoona, Australia: Charles Sturt University, 2007. editor/s (773b) = Wilson, Andrea , Dehaan, Remy , Watts, Robyn , Page, Ken , Bowmer, Kath , Curtis, Allan ,; Event dates (773o) = 21-25 May 2007; Parent title (773t) = Australian Stream Management Conference.

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - The ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) concept is increasingly being used by organisations to report on how they are responding to sustainability issues under the headings of environmental, social and economic performance. Through the development of sustainability-related objectives under these headings and matching each objective with an appropriate indicator, organisations are able to monitor and evaluate their actions thereby improving their capacity to respond. However, the predominant way in which the TBL concept is used has its problems. Actions related to the economic dimension are frequently restricted to the organisation’s financial performance rather than its effects on the broader economy. Similarly, it can be difficult for organisations to find ways to contribute to broader social sustainability issues beyond what it does for its own employees. Probably the greatest challenge is to facilitate decision-making where trade-offs across the TBL dimensions are necessary. This paper evaluates the usefulness of the TBL concept drawing on experience with Murrumbidgee Irrigation and a review of other case studies in the literature. We argue that TBL reporting can enable organisations to better manage their response to the sustainability challenge when TBL reporting is approached as an iterative learning cycle.

AB - The ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) concept is increasingly being used by organisations to report on how they are responding to sustainability issues under the headings of environmental, social and economic performance. Through the development of sustainability-related objectives under these headings and matching each objective with an appropriate indicator, organisations are able to monitor and evaluate their actions thereby improving their capacity to respond. However, the predominant way in which the TBL concept is used has its problems. Actions related to the economic dimension are frequently restricted to the organisation’s financial performance rather than its effects on the broader economy. Similarly, it can be difficult for organisations to find ways to contribute to broader social sustainability issues beyond what it does for its own employees. Probably the greatest challenge is to facilitate decision-making where trade-offs across the TBL dimensions are necessary. This paper evaluates the usefulness of the TBL concept drawing on experience with Murrumbidgee Irrigation and a review of other case studies in the literature. We argue that TBL reporting can enable organisations to better manage their response to the sustainability challenge when TBL reporting is approached as an iterative learning cycle.

KW - Open access version available

KW - Collaborative planning

KW - NRM monitoring

KW - Organisational learning

KW - Process evaluation

M3 - Conference paper

SP - 270

EP - 275

BT - 5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers

PB - Charles Sturt University

CY - Thurgoona, Australia

ER -

Mitchell M, Curtis A, Davidson P. Can the ‘triple bottom line’ concept help organisations respond to sustainability issues? In 5th Australian Stream Management Conference. Australian rivers: making a difference. Thurgoona, Australia: Charles Sturt University. 2007. p. 270-275