Summary of The Triple Bottom Line

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The Triple Bottom Line book summary

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Sustainability is "the art of doing business in an interdependent world" according to consultant Andrew W. Savitz, who urges companies to focus on the "triple bottom line": solid profit, environmental quality and improved human welfare. Drawing on his experience as head of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ sustainability practice, Savitz (writing with Karl Weber) makes a compelling case for moving your business toward "a sustainability sweet spot" where shareholders, environmental interests and other stakeholders can all feel satisfied. Sound like reheated corporate responsibility leftovers? Don’t worry. This book offers much more than soft-headed "birdies and butterflies" rhetoric or a few threadbare anecdotes. Savitz marshals truly compelling arguments based on widely accepted demographic, regulatory and cultural trends. Even robber barons will feel the pull of his message, partly because the book is so engaging and well-paced that it reads like a novel, and partly because his prescriptions are so clear, coherent and actionable that they seem like common sense. getAbstract highly recommends this sustainability guidebook to those who want to begin the journey on which such companies as Toyota, GE, PepsiCo, Nike and Unilever have already embarked. Bottom line: you can’t afford to ignore sustainability.

About the Authors

Andrew W. Savitz runs a sustainability advisory firm in Boston. Previously, he was a lead partner in the Sustainability Business Services Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a senior environmental enforcement official for the state of Massachusetts. Karl Weber is a best-selling nonfiction writer specializing in business, social and political topics.


Finding the "Sustainability Sweet Spot"

Unilever found the sustainability sweet spot in India with Project Shakti, which has trained more than 13,000 Indian women to sell its products to a rural market of some 70 million customers. Unilever gives Shakti distributors training in basic business skills, such as sales and marketing, and the women do the rest, now reaching some 50,000 villages all over India. The women are increasing Unilever’s market penetration in an emerging market while, on average, doubling their personal incomes. Unilever has similarly innovative programs in other Asian and African countries. Is this corporate philanthropy? No, it is not, as a glance at Unilever’s business strategy shows. Unilever wants to enter developing and emerging markets (India, Kenya); sell personal care products (like soap); create innovative healthy foods (like low-cholesterol spreads); and forge stronger bonds with customers, distributors and retailers. Project Shakti implements this strategy while increasing the welfare of the company’s distributors and customers. Unilever is doing good and doing well - the essence of the sustainability sweet spot.

Unilever is hardly alone...

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