Triple Bottom Line

Sustainability is usually measured according to Environmental, Financial and Social factors. The success of businesses is normally measured on the ‘Bottom Line’, or financial profit & loss. The success of sustainable systems is therefore measured on the Triple Bottom Line, including social and environmental profit & loss alongside financial.

Sustainability requires that the system does not make a loss in any of the three areas. However, in reality this means that the system must aim to make a profit, in order that inevitable occassional losses balance out and do not result in the degradation and collapse of the system.

Initially it may be possible to design products or systems that only fall into one or two categories. However, in the long run designers should be aiming to address all three areas and create entirely sustainable systems, recognising that all three issues are heavily interlinked.
Triple Bottom Line Sustainability
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