The Triple P Model, eco-efficient value creation, and the circular economy

The term Triple P is related to the aim of companies, and therefore it is related as well to the design of products and services.
It refers to the concept of the triple “bottom line” as formulated by John Elkington in his book Cannibals with Forks (Elkington, 1998).
According to the triple bottom line concept, equal weight should be given in corporate activities
to the following three aspects:
– “people”, the social consequences of its actions
– “planet”, the ecological consequences
– “profit”, the economic profitability of companies (being the source of “Prosperity”)

The main point is that the “bottom line” of an organization is not only an economic-financial one; an organization is responsible to its social and ecological environment as well. From this “triple P” perspective, an organization that considers a strategy of sustainability needs to find a balance between economic goals and goals with regard to the social and ecological environment.

The idea of the 3 dimensions originated from the Brundtland Report. In literature, the P of People is blurred by the fact that companies should take care of their employees anyway (in “good governance”). It

should be realised, however, that the P of People (in terms of sustainability) is primary related to the people of the developing countries (a matter of fair global distribution of Prosperity), see also a mission to accomplish.

The original idea is that companies (and designers) must take well balanced decisions on the 3 P’s (Fig.1.4): it is considered as a matter of trade-off, and therefore it is a matter of dilemma’s. These dilemma’s are of a double nature:
– long term versus short term
– “they” versus “us” in terms of the distribution of prosperity

The EVR model unravels the system of the 3 P’s, primarily analysing carefully the P of Prosperity (value) and the P of Planet (eco-costs), and analysing the interaction of these 2 P’s in the total system. The third P of People (of the developing world) is developed as well (S-LCA) but is extreme complex  in nature. Therefore, the interaction with the other two P’s is less developed in the EVR model. However, the EVR model provides some answers on how to give the developing countries a better share in our Prosperity and how to provide them with more money to reduce local environmental pollution.

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Figure 1.4. The road towards sustainability requires well balanced  decisions on the 3 P’s, and requires eco-efficient value creation in product innovation for the circular economy