VIEWS: One Big Happy Family: Finance, Environment & Social Good

Dispatched from the SSC Team

Let’s talk about cookies. Or, at least, a company that makes cookies.  A while back, Business Week published an article about the Dancing Deer Baking Company (delish!). Dancing Deer is a small, for-profit business struggling to make ends meet in a down economy while simultaneously minimizing its impacts upon the environment and maximizing contributions to the social good. Sound familiar? Many of you are likely facing the same challenges.

Dancing Deer’s CEO, Trish Karter, settled upon an interesting solution in her effort to integrate the company’s financial, environmental and social goals: riding her bike. Now, in a time when budgets are being slashed and quarterly goals go unmet, taking a bike ride might seem a little, well, unproductive. On the contrary, it is a strategic business decision. Karter rode her bike 1,500 miles, over a period of two weeks, to provide support to homeless mothers and showcase Dancing Deer’s philanthropic initiatives. Why, you ask? Because, these days, business is not just about financial return. At SSC, we constantly discuss the growing consumer demand for socially responsible business practices and the rewards that a company can reap from responding accordingly. Namely, brand awareness and loyalty – two crucial pieces of a business’ success. Karter understands that dedicating time to strengthening Dancing Deer’s brand name and ties to the community will lead to increased sales in the future. It is possible to remain committed to a social mission while enhancing profit, thereby pleasing customers and shareholders.  This is a prime example of the triple bottom line in action.

Let’s talk more about the triple bottom line as it is not only being adopted by companies around the globe, but is also about to become a whole lot more important to those that utilize the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) - the most commonly used sustainability reporting framework. The triple bottom line focuses on people, planet and profit. Specifically, it does away with the notion that the only kind of reporting is financial. The triple bottom line measures an organization’s financial, environmental and social successes and impacts.

Currently, the GRI framework assists organizations in compiling and reporting upon sustainability initiatives. However, according to Greenbiz’s recently published article, GRI is working to develop standards that will deliver an organization’s financial and non-financial information within one report. Our advice? Get ahead of the curve! Whether or not you have released a sustainability report in the past, there is always room for improvement. We would love to assist you in integrating your economic, ecological and social goals. Contact us to discuss the future of your organization’s reporting methods – we’ll even bring you some cookies.