Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Triple Bottom Lines and Community Indicators

Triple Bottom Lines are efforts to include an "environmental bottom line" and a "social bottom line" to the financial bottom line companies report to their stakeholders. This usually results in companies measuring their environmental and community impacts in addition to reporting their profit/loss statements.

The triple bottom line approach (or TBL+1 now) is gaining currency among corporations. See the Global Sustainability Institute's TBL+1 website for more information.

The approach is not without its critics, especially as corporations try to illustrate what they're talking about with incomprehensible graphics. However, the number of corporations paying attention to their social and environment accountability is increasing, as illustrated in the recent KPMG report (worth taking a look.)

TBL is also gaining some currency among local governments. A good example is the work being done by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (was International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.) The goal of their triple bottom line program is, in their own words:

The aim of the Triple Bottom Line Capacity Building Program (TBL Program) is to provide a cost-effective solution for councils to incorporate sustainability and triple bottom line principles into the planning, decision-making and reporting practices of local government.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Here's a set of triple bottom line taxonomies for those who want to explore the concept further.

For community indicator efforts, TBL efforts provide another way to think about how to integrate a range of information in describing community progress. Government performance benchmarks are important data sets that overlap into the community indicators realm. TBLs are another.

How has your community integrated triple bottom line measures into your indicators of progress? Has your organization adopted a triple bottom line approach to your annual report?

Note: this blog entry began as a response to this discussion at TakingItGlobal.


Post a Comment