Toward a common standard for operationalizing triple bottom line accounting.
What is Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Accounting?
In traditional accounting, there is a single “bottom line,” an economic or financial one. Triple Bottom Line accounting broadens the scope of accounting to include social and environmental impacts as well. Thus, TBL accounting is a type of management system that assesses the performance of organizations in terms of their impacts on all vital resources, not just one of them.
The three “bottom lines” in TBL accounting are:
- Social — human, social, constructed, and intellectual capitals
- Economic — financial and other economic capitals
- Environmental — natural capitals
The Certified TBL program offers the world’s first and only certification for TBL accounting and is grounded in Generally Accepted Integrated Accounting (GAIA) Principles. The Certified TBL credential recognizes and rewards organizations that systematically measure, manage, and report their performance in rigorous, context-based ways. As such, it is a supplement to many existing reporting schemes and standards, signifying that an organization is competently and completely measuring, managing, and reporting its impacts across all vital capitals – social, economic, and environmental.
What is the Certified TBL Accounting Standard?
The Certified TBL program is anchored in the TBL Accounting Standard, which requires organizations to develop and implement a formally defined management system to operationalize TBL accounting. This distinguishes the TBL program from other standards and certifications that treat social and environmental impacts as simple reporting issues.
At this time, the TBL Accounting Standard is still under development and is being pilot tested with a textile manufacturer. Other organizations are invited to participate in pilots as well. To learn more about this, please contact Hannah Crane, Senior Manager of Corporate Programs and Training at [email protected].
Introducing the TBL Certification Program (VIDEO)
Praise for TBL Accounting Standard and Certification
Founder & Chief Pollinator, Volans Ventures, and pioneer in Triple Bottom Line thinking
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Our partners at the Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) have assembled a collection of literature and resources related to context-based Triple Bottom Line accounting, all of which can be found here: CSO Publications.
Of additional relevance to our program is the United Nations’ global call for the adoption and use of context-based accounting principles by organizations, as put forward in its groundbreaking November 2022 report, Authentic Sustainability Assessment.
The MultiCapital Scorecard
“Only the second revolution in accounting since double-entry bookkeeping began, [multiple capital accounting] is of seismic proportions … The changes it will wreak are profound and far-reaching and not only will transform the way the world does business but also will alter the nature of capitalism.”
Jane Gleeson-White, Author, “Six Capitals or Can Accountants Save the Planet?”