Quote of the Day: William McDonough on the Triple Top Line


The conventional design criteria is a tripod: Can we profit from it? the company asks. Will the customer find it attractive? And will it work? Champions of "sustainable development" like to use a "triple bottom line" approach based on the tripod of Ecology, Equity, and Economy. ...

But in practice we find that it often appears to center only on economic considerations, with social or ecologic benefits considered as an afterthought rather than given equal weight at the outset. Businesses calculate their conventional economic profitability and add what they perceive to be the social benefits, with perhaps, some reduction in environmental damage. ...

The real magic results when industry begins with all these questions, addressing them up front as "triple top line" questions rather than turning to them after the fact. ... In fact, often a project that begins with pronounced concerns of Ecology or Equity (How do I create habitat? How do I create jobs?) can turn out to be tremendously productive financially in ways that would never have been imagined if you'd started from a purely economic perspective."

—William McDonough, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002, North Point Press)

Tags: Cradle To Cradle | Quotes | William McDonough