Chapter 1

Enter the Triple Bottom Line

John Elkington

In 1994, the author coined the term triple bottom line. He reflects on what got him to that point, what has happened since – and where the agenda may now be headed.

The late 1990s saw the term ‘triple bottom line’ take off. Based on the results of a survey of international experts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development (SD), Figure 1.1 spotlights the growth trend over the two years from 1999 to 2001. As originator of the term, I have often been asked how it was conceived and born. As far as I can remember – and memory is a notoriously fallible thing – there was no single eureka! moment. Instead, in 1994 we had been looking for new language to express what we ...

Get The Triple Bottom Line now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.