In the more than 30 years that John Elkington has been advising companies about corporate responsibility, there’s been a lot of change in how people view the topic. Many companies now endorse the notion of triple bottom line—Elkington’s most famous idea. We have indexes of corporate behavior, as well as indexes of profit. And there’s a whole industry devoted to accounting for the “people” and “planet” aspects of his three “P” trifecta.
But Elkington, a Brit, is far from happy with this rate of progress. There are still too few companies adopting true 3P thinking, he says, and, measured against global limits—as opposed to the quarterly targets set by Wall Street—we’re still miles behind where we need to be. There’s still lots of hunger, environmental problems, and failing infrastructure, and, in many cases, corporations aren’t really helping.