The purpose of this paper is to gain more insight of the nature and strength of relationships among the three triple bottom line (TBL) outcomes, namely corporate environmental performance outcome (CEPO), corporate social performance outcome (CSPO) and corporate financial performance outcome (CFPO) and to evolve a roadmap for integrating sustainable business practices that facilitates in managing and improving their sustainable performance. Literature reports that currently businesses try to achieve economic, social and ecological goals independently resulting in silos. The interrelationships of TBL elements have not been explored and integrated. The literature has already pointed out that to achieve corporate sustainability, managers need to integrate TBL goals in all their business decisions. However, the question remains – how to integrate these three competing goals and this paper attempts to answer this question.
In the research design, the authors use a quantitative research methodology with data collected by means of a survey questionnaire that included both descriptive and exploratory flavour. The empirical study examines the relationships of TBL elements as perceived by 85 different Australian-based large, medium, as well as small business organisations. The data collected were analysed by performing factor analysis on 21 items resulting in three latent factors that were aligned to TBL outcomes and the correlations among them were analysed to assess their interrelationships.
The results of the study report weak, positive relationships existing between the TBL. This result has useful implications well-supported by the qualitative feedback. The paper argues that Australian managers do not see any strategic advantage in pursuing “beyond compliance” sustainable business practices, as they perceive no added value to their organisations’ financial performance outcomes. Integrating economic, social and ecological performances is seen as an additional management burden.
While most of the TBL studies conducted worldwide focus on predominantly assessing large organisations toward responsible and sustainable business practices, this paper considers large, medium as well as small businesses. Also, economic, social and environmental issues are explored by organisations individually, while this study investigates their inter-connections. Through the empirical study, this paper provides recommendations and proposes a four-step roadmap with the participation of quality circles that would facilitate the integration of the social responsibility and environment protection practices into the core business operations paving way towards achieving corporate sustainability.
Venkatraman, S. and Nayak, R. (2015), "Relationships among triple bottom line elements: Focus on integrating sustainable business practices", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 195-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGR-04-2012-0013Download as .RIS
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