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Social Accountability International and Center for Sustainable Organizations to Certify Triple Bottom Line Accounting Functions

Social Accountability International and Center for Sustainable Organizations to Certify Triple Bottom Line Accounting Functions

Published 10-15-19

Submitted by Center for Sustainable Organizations

The Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) announced today it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Social Accountability International (SAI) to launch the Certified TBL Org program, the world’s first organizational credential for integrated Triple Bottom Line (TBL) measurement and reporting functions.

The Certified TBL program will be unique from other CSR/sustainability certifications:

  • The Certified TBL program will incentivize and reward organizations that have operationalized authentic (context-based) triple bottom line performance accounting functions within their own operations and those of others in their supply chains. 

  • The underlying standard of the Certified TBL program is grounded in Context-Based Sustainability (CBS), a performance accounting framework called for by the leading international standard for sustainability reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), since the release of its G2 Guidelines in 2002.

  • The Certified TBL program will offer a standardized certification credential that takes the next step beyond reporting to performance accounting.  By qualifying for the credential, organizations will be better able to report their performance with respect to GRI, the International Integrated Reporting Council’s <IR> Framework, and other reporting guidelines.

  • Certified B Corps and Public Benefit Corporations, too, will find the Certified TBL program beneficial given (a) the extent to which B Lab’s B Impact Assessment tool explicitly rewards companies for their use of context-based metrics, and (b) the fact that the MultiCapital Scorecard method – an open-source, context-based TBL tool that complies with the program – is specifically recognized by B Lab as an approved third-party standard for statutory reporting by Public Benefit Corporations throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.

Mark W. McElroy, founder and Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Organizations, had this to say about today’s announcement:

Not only will the Certified TBL Org program finally make it possible for organizations to measure, manage and report their sustainability performance in meaningful, context-based terms, it will also make authentic integrated, triple bottom line accounting a reality for the very first time.  For purpose-driven companies or organizations that truly want to manage and assess their performance in more than just financial or shareholder-centric terms, this program gives them a methodological place to go!

Jane Hwang, President and CEO of Social Accountability International (SAI), whose organization will own and administer the Certified TBL program, added:

Healthy economies, environments and societies are inextricably intertwined. There is increasing demand for businesses to play a critical and urgent role in advancing this triple bottom line. But as numerous companies make claims about integrating “people, planet and profit,” how do they, as well as all stakeholders, distinguish real action and progress? Our TBL program will offer practical guidance, rigorous accountability and global recognition for implementation and impact.

The Certified TBL program will be fully launched over the coming year through a multi-stakeholder process. Organizations interested in becoming early adopters or beta site implementations are encouraged to get in touch. 

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About Social Accountability International

Social Accountability International (SAI) is a global non-governmental organization advancing human rights in workplaces, towards a world where workers, businesses and communities thrive together.  SAI will own and operate the Certified TBL program, building on its decades of experience in social standards, certification, assurance, and capacity building, grounded in multi-stakeholder processes. Today, more than 2 million workers benefit from working in 4,200+ companies certified to SAI’s SA8000 labor standard, in 62 countries and 57 industries. Thousands of additional companies measure and improve their social performance through SAI’s Social Fingerprint program, corporate memberships, training, and other programs.

About the Center for Sustainable Organizations

The Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Woodstock, VT. Founded in 2004, CSO created the world’s first open-source TBL accounting methodology, CBS, that all organizations can use to apply the Sustainability Context principle of vital importance to GRI’s reporting standard.  Long respected as a leader in the field, CSO’s seminal contributions to sustainability accounting were formally recognized in a 2015 report by the United Nations: “At the core of the context-based reporting movement is the Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO). CSO developed Context-Based Sustainability (CBS), a framework for implementing Sustainability Context.”  CSO will be an ongoing provider of standards guidance, training and consulting support to the Certified TBL program and its participants. 

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Center for Sustainable Organizations

Center for Sustainable Organizations

CSO is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advance of Context-Based Sustainability (CBS) in corporate sustainability management (CSM). Thus, much of CSO's work involves helping companies to operationalize context-based measurement, management and reporting in their CSM programs, and to develop and implement portfolios of science-, ethics- and context-based metrics. CSO is also a co-developer of the MultiCapital Scorecard, a context-based triple bottom line performance accounting tool.

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