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Sustainable profit or profitable sustainability

Sustainable profit or profitable sustainability?

Amanjit Singh

Communications Director - South Asia


The clarion call for business traditionally has been to maximize the bottom-line and exist for profits alone. But has the lexicon of profit changed in the recent past?

In 1994, business writer John Elkington coined the term Triple Bottom Line- a three-part framework that focuses on social, environmental and financial performance of a business, and not just on the monetary profits. It is this holistic approach that needs the attention of all businesses today.

Low-cost, sweatshop-produced goods have caused global boycotts of iconic brands. Industrial waste dumping in rivers has led to companies being rapped by both local regulatory authorities and their consumers. In the same breath, fast fashion brands that have increasingly focused on sustainability have been rewarded by their customers.

Studies by MIT have found that businesses that take sustainability seriously do profit in the long run. At some point there has to be a better financial, societal, and environmental integration in the balance sheet for a sustainable business. And it may no longer be a choice.

Here’s hoping that brand builders and business leaders soften on the Friedman doctrine and look at sustainability as a growth engine. After all, nothing is permanent but change.

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then” - Alice in Wonderland