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Free Rebranding Handbook

TBL, ESG, CSR, OMG

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

Been down a rabbit hole today?

This might save you from one... or send you down one (sorry).

This is my super simplified understanding of each of these things.

Triple Bottom Line (TBL or 3BL):

Where the conventional form of accounting focuses on a single “bottom line” - Profit - the triple bottom line adds People and Planet as measurable concerns for a company to improve. The idea is that you put equal effort into looking after your people and doing good by the planet, as you put into improving your profit.

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG):

Take planet (Environmental) and people (Social) from TBL above, add Governance - and you have ESG. Unlike the E and the S though, Governance is kind of a non-measurable thing because, in my unsophisticated words, it’s how you make decisions on running your organisation. ESG hopes that you make generally good decisions for your people, the planet, and your profit. So there’s a clear crossover with TBL... even a double-up.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

To avoid another simple interpretation, this is from humanrights.gov.au:

...corporations have a degree of responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities, but also for the social and environmental implications. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘triple bottom line’ approach that considers the economic, social and environmental aspects of corporate activity.

Do they all just mean the same thing!?

Let me ask you - do you think it matters?

All this alphabet soup says to me is that there are several frameworks you can adopt.

But the basic idea is that if you’re an organisation that makes profit (or not!), it’s a good idea to also make sure your people are treated well, and you don’t mess up the planet while you’re doing your thing.

So which of these systems should we adopt then?

All of them. None of them. Honestly, I don’t think it matters - what matters is if anything in any of those frameworks clicks with you, then start doing that.

It’s not hard to treat people well - but it can be hard to know if you are or not as an organisation, so try to find out.

It can be hard to treat the planet well - but that’s a matter of learning; asking your suppliers questions; looking at your choices; taking inspiration from organisations that do it well.

Saying you’ve adopted a framework is window dressing, but doing the work that makes your organisation better than it was yesterday is commendable.

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