What is a Triple Purpose Company?
To make a change to a more ethical business culture, we need to introduce a new form of company, a Triple Purpose Company where the core purpose of the business is focussed on its positive social and environmental impact as well as making an ethical profit.
The key to the success of a Triple Purpose strategy is that all staff agree to embrace and fulfil the strategy on a daily basis. It will not work if imposed by diktat from above.
Core Principles of a Triple Purpose Company
There are three core principles of a Triple Purpose Company namely:
Establishing a genuine ethical and caring culture within the business
It is essential that all staff agree to work towards creating a genuinely ethical and caring culture within the company and sign a pledge to this effect. What is great is that everyone within the company can play a part in this strategy on a daily basis!
Triple Purpose written into the Company Constitution
The Triple Purpose mission statement must be written into the company constitution and this strategy communicated to its workers, shareholders, customers, other stakeholders and to the wider community.
Measurement, reporting and disclosure
The company installs management, reporting and disclosure systems to measure Triple Purpose objectives with the results communicated, on a regular basis, to all staff and relevant stakeholders in a clear and concise manner.
Crucial elements of the strategy will include:
By some distance, creating a happy and fulfilled work-force is the most critical in establishing a truly ethical organisation. The company will strive to ensure its staff are happy and fulfilled at work. They need to be well-trained, safe, have equal opportunities, made to feel valued and part of a team, have a fair work-life balance and are justly paid.
It will not just be the responsibility of the company to strive for a happy workforce: every employee will need to play their part in the journey as well behaving in an ethical and caring way towards one another and the environment.
Note; Unfortunately, very high levels of unhappiness are reported amongst the 25 million people working in the UK private sector so there is much work to be done. It is the people who drive success of companies and where well-being suffers, so do performance and effectiveness. Happier employees lead to a decrease in absenteeism and sickness, a decrease in staff turnover, an increase in productivity, more engagement, innovation and creativity. Research also suggests that happiness and well-being create more effective teams and better leaders.
Triple Purpose Committee
Subject to the size of the business, it is suggested that a Triple Purpose Committee (TPC) or a similar name, is established with committee members comprising, as a minimum, a representative from the workforce (a Triple Purpose Champion!), a representative from the Board and for larger companies a representative from Internal Audit. This Committee will oversee the company’s adherence to the Triple Purpose Principles, reporting directly to the Board. Additionally, as part of its mandate, the TPC will encourage ideas from colleagues and will provide regular reports to all the workforce.
It is this committee that will champion the principles of Triple Purpose and with the agreement of the Board, will set the focus and priorities for the Triple Purpose strategy. Every business will be different in its approach to its Triple Purpose strategy but it will be this Committee’s responsibility to ensure that the fundamental principles are adhered to – ethical profit, social and environmental responsibility.
Responsibilities of all employees towards each other and the company
It is not just the company and its attitude that needs to change but the attitude of all the employees within the company. Everybody will need to behave responsibly and treat each other, the company and other stakeholders with care, respect and integrity at all times.
Illegal and unethical activities
A Triple Purpose Company will ensure that no member of staff will undertake, or be asked to undertake any illegal, unethical and unacceptable behaviour. There will be an easily accessible and confidential help-line available for complaint. Senior management need to guarantee protection for whistleblowers.
Responsibilities of the company towards its stakeholders
In addition to its employees, a Triple Purpose Company will show care, respect, integrity and compassion towards all its stakeholders including those in the supply chain, the local and wider community, government and shareholders and encourage these stakeholders, where relevant, also to embrace a Triple Purpose strategy.
Taking care of the environment
In a Triple Purpose Company, the company and its employees will consider the ethical implications, as well as legal, in all decisions which have an environmental impact. They need to make a commitment to achieving environmental sustainability by the careful management of its consumption of energy and water, waste and toxic substances.
Management, measurement and reporting systems will be introduced that provide the structures and processes that help embed environmental efficiency into the company’s culture.
A Triple Purpose Company will make decisions that ensure the sustainability of the business by making an ethical profit via a caring, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable business strategy.
A Triple Purpose Company will give due consideration towards investing in their staff, in training, health and safety, R&D, the environment and the local community with long term sustainability of the company as the strategic objective.
People – Planet – Profit
A Triple Purpose Company has as its core purpose to focus on its positive social and environmental impact as well as making an ethical profit.
A Happy Workforce
A Triple Purpose Company will strive to ensure its staff are happy at work. It will ensure they are well-trained, safe, made to feel valued and part of a team, justly paid, have equal opportunities and a fair work-life balance.
A Triple Purpose Committee
We recommend a Triple Purpose Committee (TPC) or a similar name, be established with committee members comprising, as a minimum, a representative from the workforce (a Triple Purpose Champion), a representative from the Board and for larger companies a representative from Internal Audit.
Illegal or unethical activities
A Triple Purpose Company and its staff will ensure that no employee will undertake, or be asked to undertake any illegal or unethical behaviour. There will be an easily accessible and confidential helpline available for complaint.