Processes that Bind

- By:

Courtesy of Fluor Corporation

The 'triple bottom line' (1) is rapidly gaining recognition as a framework for measuring business performance.

In its broadest sense, the triple bottom line captures the spectrum of values that organizations must embrace - economic, environmental and social.

In practical terms, the triple bottom line means expanding the traditional company reporting framework to take into account not just financial outcomes but also environmental and social performance.

In this paper we will discuss how one company, Fluor, is using the triple bottom line to enhance its profitability, retention of employees and success of its projects. We will discuss the journey the firm is on. A journey with out end as continuous improvement is a key hallmark of the triple bottom line approach as implemented by Fluor.

Sustainable Development and the Triple Bottom Line

Sustainable development’s goal is to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (2)

The key challenge of sustainable development is that it demands the same focus and management processes that any corporate goal requires while at the same time introducing new thinking and innovative choices to achieve these goals. Said another way, goal establishment alone is not enough, it must be coupled with processes that bind the entire organization to these goals and assure their achievement while providing the commitment to continuous improvement which is a hallmark of successful organizations.

Developments in knowledge and technology contribute to achievement of economic, environmental and social goals consistent with the objective of the triple bottom line approach but at the same time introduce new challenges and require firms like Fluor to make new choices in the way their operations, services, and activities impact the earth, people, and economies.

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