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JOVACO Solutions

Triple Bottom Line: The Trick Isn’t Defining It; The Trick Is Measuring It.


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I recently read the article The Triple Bottom Line: What Is It and How Does It Work? I was curious if organizations are actually taking the concept of measuring their environmental footprint seriously. Or is it a topic that people like to talk about but will take awhile before anyone puts anything into practice due to its level of complexity. It wasn’t until the article said: “The trick isn’t defining the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). The trick is measuring it” when I realized that calculating a TBL for your organization is a lot like any other green initiative: if it is not convenient or if it is more costly to implement than the benefit you will get out of it, then it just won’t get done.

There are a lot of different approaches that currently exist when an organization decides that they are going to start calculating the impact that their business has on the environment. There would be one less hurdle if you could automatically capture and measure change within a robust ERP solution. The luckily the answer is yes, it can be done.

If you already have a solution in place then you are on the right track. Since there are currently no standardized calculations required it makes it easier for your organization to test the waters calculating your environmental footprint. The simplest way of doing so is to break down the process by job or project and then calculate the impact through a project accounting solution. With this model, you can easily collect the data you require by creating rules and workflows that automatically allocate a percentage or a pre-determined amount to this account depending on the time, size, and number of people involved.

Here is a list of some factors that are easily extrapolated from a management solution and are easily accounted for when calculating an organization’s triple bottom line:

Economic

  • Amount of taxes paid

Social

  • Average hours of training/employee
  • From welfare to career retention
  • Charitable contributions

Environmental/Safety

  • Safety incident rate
  • Lost/restricted workday rate
  • Sales dollars per kilowatt hour
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Use of post-consumer and industrial recycled material
  • Water consumption
  • Amount of waste to landfill

 

Another way that an ERP solution helps you extract the proper measurements, if you decide not to calculate by project, is to create KPIs with regards to the unit of product such as percentage of material wasted and quantity of energy required.

Another tool that is available to calculate the required information could be a flexible time & expense module.  A time and expense module would help you calculate green-house emissions created from business travel as well as creating a percentage or index amount for hourly overhead that an employee generates at the office.

It’s not easy being green, but with the right project accounting solution, it could be just a little bit easier.

By JOVACO Solutions, a Quebec-based Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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