In today’s economic environment, business success is no longer defined by only monetary gain but also by the affect it has on people and the planet. Referred to as triple bottom line or social impact, businesses seek to gauge an organization’s level of commitment to corporate social responsibility and its impact on the environment over time.

In our complex and ever evolving world, I believe that many of us are becoming more engaged in what our business impact is in our community, the environment and how we conduct ourselves both here and abroad. More people are thinking about sustainability and the three “P’s – people, planet and profit”. As leaders, many of us are thinking that we can and should do more. Fair trade (human rights and poverty reduction), social impact investment, environmental stewardship, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and Farm to Table are all commitments to corporate social responsibility.

Community governments have begun to adopt social procurement policies. The Village of Cumberland uses a social procurement framework to leverage public dollars and achieve desirable and targeted social impact for their community through competitive bidding and purchasing activities. Their procurement framework expands on the traditional understanding of “best value” to include positive societal benefits, alongside high quality and competitive bids.

Often small to medium sized business grapple with how they can adopt or implement practices that address social impact. Recently, I read an article in Nanaimo Magazine that illustrates how Gabriel’s Café, a local eatery in Nanaimo, is tackling sustainability and growing community on Vancouver Island. Concerned with whole food and local sourcing, they buy direct from farmers’ whenever possible. Their kitchen operates at zero waste and recycling, upcycling and composting are foundational practices at their establishment. They also give to the community through their very own ‘Soup Token Program’ allowing for homeless citizens to escape the weather and enjoy a hot bowl of soup in their establishment. Small steps with powerful results!

Leadership in business and community need to challenge their current status quo and begin to shift mindsets to how we can find solutions for a better tomorrow that include people, planet and profit.

Jolynn Green is Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island. You can count on us for sound practical advice, personalized business coaching and tailored financing that supports your business goals. Jolynn can be reached at or 250-591-7499.