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Triple Bottom Line: The Yardstick to Measure Sustainability in the Supply Chain

People, planet, and profit are the three driving forces that keep your supply chain stable and organized. Building synergy and affirming co-existence are necessary to improve logistics performance without putting sustainability at stake. Designing a corporate policy that blends with environmental standards and societal responsibilities is vital to controlling rising environmental issues and related health risks.

Statistics reports confirm supply chains are responsible for 90% of the industry's environmental impact.The supply chain comprises a lot of business components, from manufacturing to last-mile delivery, that can induce pollution and unbalanced resource utilization if not addressed strategically. So, every business needs to develop a triple bottom line-based supply chain to safeguard people, the planet, and profit. 

What is a Triple Bottom Line?

Every corporate set-up and supply chain business needs to align with sustainability standards that define social, economic, and environmental harmony as the success benchmark. The triple bottom line is a yardstick to measure supply chain sustainability. It analyses how a supply chain promotes sustainability along with driving profit.

The term 'Triple Bottom Line was introduced by John Elkington with a vision to develop a long-term strategy that brings:

  • Transparency in supply chain performance
  • Improve economic situation and opportunity
  • Boost local-level activities and sharpen the competitive edge
  • Reduce environmental impact or degradation
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To understand TBL sustainability, it is necessary to discover the components in its key metrics:

Social Measures

Social measures are variables that look into health, well-being, and quality of life. It can include a supportive work environment, gender equality in workplaces, safety mandates, business ethics, human rights standards, and labour rights.

Environmental Measures

Environment measures in TBL focus on shifting perceptions to green environment practices by inculcating certified suppliers and reducing resource utilization (Fossil fuel utilization, solid and hazardous waste management, electricity consumption, etc).

Economic Measures

The flow of money is a factor that determines the efficiency of any business. Economic measures in a supply chain look into various factors like expenditure, ROI, investment in sustainable projects and total growth prospects.

4 Technology-Driven Strategies to Meet TBL Standards

Developing a strategy based on the triple bottom line is necessary to build a green logistics platform. The boom in technology has facilitated high-end opportunities to digitize the supply chain, reduce resource utilization, optimize freight movement, and improve efficiency in last-mile delivery. Let's explore some technology-driven strategies to customize the triple bottom line:

Automation & Real-time Data Insights

Making the right decisions at the right time is crucial to saving time, money and resource utilization. Real-time data insights and visibility across all channels are necessary to implement a practical decision. Demand forecasting plays a significant role in planning and preparing warehouses. Investing in AI- AI-integrated automation technology and freight optimization tactics is necessary to build a sustainable supply chain project to enhance customer services and secure your future.  

Optimize Fulfilment Logistics to Control Freight Movement

Sustainability goals are gaining momentum considering the rising global warming issues and the greenhouse effect. A report shared by the WHO claims, "Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, with low and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures".

An efficient Transportation Management Software (TMS) is necessary to address environmental issues caused due to unregulated freight systems. TMS helps to reduce freight expenses, track real-time updates, enhance delivery, and control fuel utilization.

Utilize Blockchain Contracts to Manage Contracts

Unlike a traditional database, decentralized blockchain technology stores data in blocks to ensure security and reduce data diddling. Robust and foolproof security is necessary to bring profit and mutual benefits through a trade pact. Blockchain technology helps stakeholders to sign contractual clauses through smart contract technology that eliminates human errors and disputes.

The auto-execution modality of the blockchain system improves efficiency in contract management by boosting visibility and facilitating a real-time tracking system.

Integrate Emission Tracking System

Inspecting all levels of the supply chain and calculating the carbon footprint is necessary to develop an emission-tracking system that eliminates pollution issues and disruptions. If you want to create value for your customers, employees, and stakeholders, it is necessary to mitigate pollution and other kinds of environmental and social issues caused due to an unoptimized supply chain.

AI-integrated emission tracking systems are highly useful as they provide emission data visualization tools and real-time tracking tools that help to instantly get updates about your performance.  

Recommended Reading: 6 Effective Green Logistics Strategies Driven by Smart Technology

Advantages of Integrating TBL Philosophy into Your Business

The triple bottom line helps your business to achieve overall growth. Sustainability is not just about practicing green logistics. It points to a holistic development philosophy that measures business integrity on the grounds of people, profit, and the planet. Here are some top-notch benefits of TBL metrics you must know to understand the essence of sustainability.

Eliminates Carbon Footprint & Energy Expense

Saving the planet we live on should be one of the goals of every business. Aligning to the TBL philosophy helps businesses set goals based on sustainability metrics that safeguard life, resources and drive profit.

The carbon footprint and natural energy utilization are increasing day by day. Calculating the energy expense and total carbon footprint helps businesses to find strategies and solutions to improve sustainability. TBL stands as a standard metric that helps businesses to self-analyze their position in terms of sustainability.

Amplifies Brand Image & Increase Productivity

Accelerating demand and reducing disruptions are vital to stabilizing the brand value. If you need to create demand, you must provide your customers with value-driven services.

Now, stakeholders are not only interested in hearing the financial reports, but they also want to know how big companies with huge resources are promoting social well-being and green practices.

Productivity and customer satisfaction rely upon employees' health and well-being. How you treat your employees and customers is also a major success index. So, inculcating TBL metrics into your business helps yield a better score in sustainability reports, thus improving the brand value.

Helps to Initiate Future Growth & Financial Security

A comprehensive business approach is essential to set future goals and achieve financial growth. A framework or standard benchmark is needed to measure success and understand the areas where you need improvement. Planning your future is necessary to prepare for the big changes.

The drive towards sustainability has become a necessity or a certified record to conduct business. It is time to invest in the bottom-line metrics to safeguard your future through the path of sustainability.

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Integrate Triple Bottom Line Policy to Tune Your Business

Success or failure in a supply chain business cannot be determined by calculating profit and loss. It is also about social well-being and ecological sustenance. It is time to take pride in launching a supply chain business that is humane and empathetic towards the world. It's difficult to invest in technology and business intelligence that requires a huge amount, but nothing can stop you from finding an efficient 3PL partner who can get you smart technologies to make your supply chain digitized, profitable, and sustainable to beat the disruptive challenges.

An insightful 3PL business can help you figure out supply chain issues effectively without consuming time and energy. Be it warehousing, picking, packing, or anything, a 3PL partner will promise you enhanced services to keep people, planet, and profit stable.


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