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Triple Bottom Line: Managing Sustainable Value Creation

This course introduces and operationalizes the Triple Bottom Line framework for measuring and managing sustainable value creation. The framework highlights the balance that needs to be achieved by an organization across three dimensions of sustainability-related performance - environmental stewardship, social impact, and value creation - and provides a powerful lens for both evaluating the firm's current activities and designing a business strategy with sustainability at the core of its value proposition. The first half of the course focuses on developing skills to use financial statement disclosures, sustainability-related reports, and other publicly available and private sources of information to critically evaluate a company’s economic performance and financial condition (i.e., the value creation dimension of the Triple Bottom line) and to measure and assess how a company's operations interacts with the environment and society (i.e., the environmental stewardship and social responsibility dimensions of the Triple Bottom Line). 

The second half of the course will focus on applying the Triple Bottom Line analyses to specific decision contexts, and will examine the measurement issues, trade-offs, and implementation challenges associated with identifying and executing a sustainability-oriented business strategy. The course is structured to develop students’ ability to critically assess the sustainability-related performance of an organization and to ultimately translate that understanding into specific recommendations to improve that company along each dimension of sustainability. The perspective taken is that of an executive relying on available financial and non-financial information for performance evaluation, investment analyses, and strategic decision-making purposes, yet the concepts and tools can also be applied by investors who need to understand whether or not the organization's activities are sustainable. The capstone to the course is the completion of a comprehensive, real-time analysis of a publicly-traded company using the Triple Bottom Line framework and the development of a set of recommendations for how the organization can improve its sustainability-related performance.

Joseph D. Piotroski

Professor Piotroski’s research focuses on corporate transparency, governance, and regulation in a global context. His current research examines the impact of legal, political, and regulatory forces on capital market behavior and corporate decision-making, most notably in China and other emerging economies. He also explores how capital market participants use financial information for valuation and investment purposes.

Learn more about Joseph Piotroski