The Triple Bottom Line Theory

Subject: Management
Pages: 2
Words: 386
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor

Business stakeholders include investors, workers, suppliers, customers, as well as communities, and government. The Triple Bottom Line is a theory of corporate social responsibility, which assumes that the company is a member of the moral community and bears social responsibility. This theory has three components: economic, social, and environmental sustainability (Matteson & Metivier, 2021).

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The company must focus on long-term rather than short-term economic decisions to ensure the stability and survival of the company. Additionally, in a competitive marketplace, a company should focus on creating an environment for the success of all organizations, which develops society as a whole and not strive exclusively for its own prosperity. From an environmental perspective, the company must take care of the rational use of resources and minimize harm to nature in order to provide comfortable conditions for the present and future inhabitants of the Earth. Thus, the organization should focus on both business and community benefits, making positive change for society (cadmusjay, 2008). Corporate stakeholders are considered in this theory because they are members of the community, and the ethics of business actions directly affect their well-being.

A good example of a company using the Triple Bottom Line is BP oil company, which after the massive oil spill, actively collaborates with non-profit organizations, community members, government, and invests in research on sustaining the local economy and ecology (BP – The cost of ignoring, 2016; Kaye, 2015).

Greenwashing means creating a false impression of concern for the environment among stakeholders by exploiting unethical operating practices to maximize profits while avoiding regulatory constraints (Spence, 2011). Thus, the company uses all possible methods of extracting benefits, in reality, without worrying about the possible environmental harm. However, it persists in providing false information about the company’s green policies and activities to limit resource exploitation and pollution.

However, greenwashing can be identified if the company does not provide open and transparent information about its sustainability policy, as well as about all the activities associated with measures to protect the environment. For example, the same BP regularly publishes sustainability reports after the oil spill incident, which is meant to restore the trust of its stakeholders (Kaye, 2015). Thus, if a company does not support its claims with real actions and results, and hides the details of its operations, then it can be suspected of greenwashing.


BP – The cost of ignoring corporate social responsibility. (2016). Cara MacMillan. Web.

cadmusjay. (2008). IBM study: Corporate social responsibility [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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Kaye, L. (2015). Five years after deepwater horizon, can BP repair its reputation? Web.

Matteson, M., & Metivier, C. (2021). Corporate social responsibility and the Triple Bottom Line. Business Ethics. Web.

Spence, D. (2011). Corporate social responsibility in the oil and gas industry: The importance of reputational risk. Chicago-Kent Law Review, 59, 1-19. Web.