A remarkable thing happened when the Business Roundtable Group met in 2019. The Business Roundtable is composed of CEOs drawn from the world’s largest companies, representing a wide spectrum of industry sectors. However, in 2019 CEOs agreed that corporations should endeavor to benefit society as a whole, not just shareholders, a fundamental shift in business priorities.
After decades of viewing profit as the sole measurement of bottom line success, corporations are shifting their outlook and embracing what we at Silicon Couloir hold as one of our guiding principles: Profit, People, Planet, commonly known as Triple Bottom Line.
In recent years many companies have learned that being a good steward is in turn good for business. Employees, communities and the natural environment are not expendable commodities. These resources must be protected and nurtured if society, and business, is to thrive.
In many ways the Teton region is an ideal test case to examine and understand the importance of expanding the traditional accounting framework to include both the social and environmental impacts of a company. Why? Because in a small community people are, in theory and practice, more accountable to each other. We care about our neighbors, and we aren’t anonymous.
We also care deeply about our natural environment, truly one of the most pristine in the world. Impacts on our wild and unique ecosystem can be swift and devastating, be it from loss of wildlife habitat or climate change-induced proliferation of pine bark beetles. There’s no question that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has not only innate value but also enormous economic and spiritual value to our community. It’s why we are here, and most would agree we must be good stewards of this place we inhabit.
Let’s take a closer look at the three aspects of Triple Bottom Line.
Profit: We choose to put profit first for the simple truism that a business must be profitable to survive. We strive to support ventures in the Teton region that produce year-round good-paying jobs. We envision a diverse economic community with a thriving middle class. Recent shifts toward growing inequality are a threat to the future of our region. It’s more important than ever to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses.
People: When companies support their employees with living wages, benefits and opportunities, remarkable things happen. Productivity increases and ideas flourish. Employees are a company’s most precious asset, not just an expense item on the income statement.
A local biotech company formerly known as Extherid provides an illustration. Last year Extherid merged with a U.K. company to form the Perfectus Biomed Group, an achievement born of hard work and success. The local lab employs four scientists with thriving careers right here in Jackson and is looking to add staff. The lab also provides internship opportunities for local high school students, thus enriching and inspiring our students to achieve.
Planet: To Silicon Couloir “planet” means thinking small and big. On the micro scale, community engagement and support, in a variety of ways, results in a more vibrant region. For local businesses we believe the payback is material. You can do “good” by doing well financially, and do well by doing “good” in your community. It’s a virtuous circle.
On a macro level, evidence of a global ecological crisis abounds. We are currently living through a mass extinction caused primarily by human activity. The planet is warming, many fragile ecosystems are on the brink of collapse, and public opinion supports the notion that businesses have to do more to protect the environment. Sustaining our biosphere is the key to sustaining our economy for current and future generations.
Some local businesses Silicon Couloir supports, such as Noso Patches, are working directly on solutions to combat environmental degradation. Noso produces creative and stylish patches to repair torn clothing, thus keeping items in use and out of landfills.
Other companies we work with commit to the planet with green energy, use of sustainably harvested raw materials or by giving back through programs like 1% For The Tetons. Each initiative cumulatively adds up to significant impact.
As a business owner or a consumer your choices shape our economy, community and environment. Let Triple Bottom Line be a lens through which you help create greater sustainability in the Teton region.