Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Certification


What is Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Accounting?

Social, Economic, Environmental. 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. TBL accounting assesses the performance of organizations in terms of their impacts on all vital resources, not just one of them.

What Differentiates Our TBL Accounting Standard?

For all the talk of accountability in business, few organizations actually measure, manage, or report their performance in ways that fully account for impacts beyond economic ones. Such myopia in mainstream accounting means that performance beyond shareholder returns is almost never disclosed, much less measured. Even managers are left partly in the dark.

If we hope to bring about a world in which business, commerce, and civil society are sustainable, this must change. We cannot continue to rely on accounting tools that keep us blind to the effects of business on the well-being of people, other species, and the planet. Performance accounting must be reoriented accordingly.

Our TBL Accounting Standard is based on the belief that while outcomes matter, authentic measurement must come first. By incorporating multi-stakeholder perspectives and feedback, our Triple Bottom Line Accounting Standard recognizes the value of tools and protocols which uphold the principles of true Triple Bottom Line accounting. It not only takes into account the interests of key stakeholders, but does so in a manner which recognizes that all resources have limits, and that our well-being relies on understanding the effects of human activities on all of them.

For those organizations truly committed to measuring all of what matters with discipline and authenticity, our TBL Accounting Standard and Certified TBL program offers a method and a credential.

Read the press release.

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What is the Value of Certified TBL?

The world’s first and only certification for TBL accounting, Certified TBL is grounded in best practices and international standards. Unlike other programs, the Certified TBL credential recognizes and rewards organizations that systematically measure, manage, and report their performance in rigorous, context-based TBL terms—regardless of their actual performance. Supplementing many existing reporting schemes and requirements, a Certified TBL credential provides all stakeholders confidence in the robustness and validity of a company’s TBL accounting practices used to develop and support its TBL performance declarations.

About Certified TBL

The Certified TBL program was jointly launched in 2019 by the non-profit Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) and SustainAccounting LLC, with the purpose of promoting sustainability in commerce by incentivizing and rewarding organizations that practice authentic TBL accounting.

In September 2019, SAI took ownership of the program in an ongoing partnership with CSO. Read the MOU.