Friday 23 May 2014

People, Planet or Profit! What is the Priority?

Authored by Azra Sultan

The organizations spend huge money to deliver high quality, and achieve value for money, goods, services and sustainable savings. The objectives stimulate the markets to develop strategies and innovative processes which support triple‐bottom line outcomes. The triple bottom line i.e. people, planet and profit was first explained by John Elkington in his 1997 book "Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business". It's a bottom line that continues to measure profits, but also measures the organization's impact on people and on the planet. Triple Bottom line Procurement is a strategic approach to meet organizational objectives through procurement as it involves using procurement processes and purchasing power to generate positive TBL outcomes in addition to the delivery of efficient goods and services. It is the right time to take steps towards triple bottom line and ensure TBL Procurement readiness through securing leadership support, building awareness and understanding across the organization. At the same time organization’s procurement policies, frameworks and process also needs to be reviewed to incorporate social outcomes and early identification of TBL opportunities through strategic procurement. 

Carter and Rogers (2008) state that the triple bottom line is the intersection of social, environmental, and financial performance. Therefore, for a company to pursue sustainability they cannot pursue financial or social initiatives in a vacuum. Instead, it is strongly recommended that supply chain managers link environmental, social, and financial goals within a broader strategy to ensure the business pursues sustainability rather than philanthropy. Applying the triple bottom line concept across the supply chain can lead to significant benefits.

Triple bottom line (TBL) supply chain sustainability (people, planet, and profit) intersects with supply chain risk management. TBL supply chain sustainability helps ensure that there is a long-term supply of people, natural resources, and profit. A research report by American Production and Inventory Control Society reveals that Triple bottom line supply chain sustainability tends to see differences in priority, but most often people and profit are placed ahead of planet. So what is your opinion?

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