Chapter 2

Triple Bottom Line:A Review of the Literature

Carol Adams, Geoff Frost and Wendy Webber

Introduction

John Elkington's Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business (1997) offers an inspiring metaphor that challenges contemporary corporations to simultaneously deliver the triple bottom line (TBL) of economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity. Why corporations? Hart (1997) argues that while the roots of the world's sustainability crisis are social and political, only corporations have the resources, global reach and motivation to achieve sustainability. Corporations now represent over half of the world's largest economies (Anderson and Cavanagh, 1996, quoted in Zadek, 2001) and sales of the top ...

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