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

The term Triple P 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.

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 realized, 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).

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:
– long term versus short term
– “they” versus “us” in terms of prosperity

To speed up the transition, however, we need a more enhanced approach. Not a trade-off, but we need a new, better economy as suggested in the Brundtland Report (quote: “What we need now is a new era of economic growth – growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable”). Here, product innovation should create more value, and at the same time less eco-burden, as it is the aim of circular business solutions.
The EVR model unravels the system of the 3 P’s, primarily analyzing carefully the P of Prosperity (value) and the P of Planet (eco-costs), and analyzing the interaction of these 2 P’s in the total system. The third P of People (of the developing world) is analyzed as well (S-LCA), but is extreme complex  in nature.


Figure 1.4. A fast transition towards sustainability requires eco-efficient value creation in product innovation for the circular economy, where the aim is a win-win for planet and prosperity, as well as a fair distribution of prosperity between the rich and the poor countries.