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Sustaining Our Region. What Will It Take?

Social responsibility and commitment to the environment are no longer asked of businesses, they are expected. The triple bottom line – dedication to giving back socially, environmentally, and fiscally – provides a guideline for business leaders to practice corporate responsibility. When businesses do well financially, it’s important that they do good in their community on both the social and environmental levels.  

HOW CAN BUSINESSES MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT?   

With minority groups expanding in the U.S., businesses must adopt an inclusivity-first mindset. Only 42% of diversity programs are advocated by the CEO, top leadership, or human resources according to the Society for Human Resource Management. While prioritizing diversity is the first step, businesses must also create an inclusive environment for employees in order to retain diverse talent.  

When it comes to climate change, focus on issues such as plastic straws hoard media and public attention. In reality, individuals impact climate change on a much smaller scale than big business. The U.S. currently generates the most waste out of every country in the world, despite comprising only 5% of its population. To make lasting change, legislation is necessary to encourage sustainable environmental practices.  

Chairman and CEO of Ideal Group, Frank Venegas Jr., made it his mission to strengthen the Southwest community in Detroit by investing in education and neighborhood projects. With a growing number of businesses following suit, corporate sustainability is becoming the new norm.   

This issue exemplifies how businesses can be a force for good by setting a precedent for other companies to follow, ultimately improving the business community and region overall. When thinking about business, taking an ethical approach is not enough anymore. Companies have the power to better their community and environment, and it’s time to act on it for future generations. 

THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE 

First coined by business author and serial entrepreneur John Elkington, the concept explains that when businesses measure success on social and environmental goals equally as they do on fiscal goals, the business will achieve true sustainability and longevity for the region and the planet. 8 

Q: Why is it important for the Michigan business community to implement the triple bottom line framework?  

A: The business community has incredible strength to create value in our communities and to change lives. When we think long term, social and environmental factors — like people and planet come into focus. With a triple bottom line framework, we are able to see all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Intention matters and if we are intentional about envisioning the future, we will find ourselves in a better place as a region.

Christina L. Keller

President and CEO,
Cascade Engineering Family of Companies