The triple bottom line has been, and remains, a useful tool for integrating sustainability into the business agenda. Balancing traditional economic goals with social and environmental concerns, it has created a new measure of corporate performance. A business strategy focused solely on the bottom line, however, can obscure opportunities to pursue innovation and create value in the design process. New tools for sustainable design can refocus product development from a process aimed at limiting end of pipe liabilities to one geared to creating safe, quality products right from the start.
This new design perspective creates triple top line growth: products that enhance the well being of nature and culture while generating economic value. Design for the triple top line follows the laws of nature to give industry the tools to develop systems that safely generate prosperity. In these new human systems, materials become food for the soil or flow back to industry forever. Value and quality are embodied in products, processes and facilities so ecologically intelligently designed, they leave footprints to delight in rather than lament. When the principles of ecologically intelligent design are widely applied both nature and commerce can thrive and grow.
More information about the paper:
Corporate Environmental Strategy, Vol. 9, No. 3 (2002)