Triple bottom line on the farm: what does that mean?

This is a new way of looking at business success, so let's try and apply it to our farming businesses.

Triple Bottom Line looks at three factors:
  • Economic, which is the major one in farming, but goes on to include
  • Social issues
  • Environmental issues
Let's explore some of the factors surrounding Triple Bottom Line.

Firstly, economic factors are very well known to farmers.
  • Are you making a cash profit each year, or are you borrowing annually against your asset to fund the cash deficit?
  • Are you being prudent with expenditure, and looking at the return to you and your family?
  • Do you have too many HP's running, and is your banker always on your case?
  • Or have you got a cash buffer in the bank, and everything is under full control?
  • Are your balance sheets done on time, and taxation attended to?
I think we feel sometimes we don't make a difference, but we do. Join a club or an organisation. Give to your community and the reward is yours.

As an individual, we can all make a difference. If everybody decided on the same day to be more caring, compassionate, considerate of their fellow man, the fabric and feeling of our society would change overnight.

If you are feeling lonely and isolated, are trying to make friends, stop trying and be one.

I personally have cottoned onto this idea of being a friend lately. I actively listen and call up my friends just to chat, and be there for them. The result and feel good factor have been startling.

You as an individual can start now by being a better friend.

Try applying it to your existing relationships, and the results will impress you.

Thirdly, the environment. What can you do on your farm to ensure that as a custodian of the land you pass on to the next generation in good heart and order?

Some of the issues here would be effluent disposal, nutrient budgeting, retiring and planting special areas, giving land to the QEII, wind turbines, screen planting and so on.

I recently sat beside an Environment Court Judge whilst travelling to Invercargill, and it was clear from him that there has been enough warnings given under the RMA, and there will be more action and more fines coming up, so be warned.

The environmental issue is relatively new to a many farmers, but the feel good factor is amazing. I personally am trying to run a more balanced soil and environment in my avocado orchard. I use low NPK, and nasties. I love it. It's a great topic to talk about with your friends, and you feel really good, because you are making a difference.

In summary, Triple Bottom Line will be talked about more in the rural sector as time goes on.

Matching your farming economics and success with social and environmental issues will see you prosper both financially and emotionally, as you tackle a more holistic approach to you farming business.

And if you think I am romanticising, go and talk to somebody who has actually, unconsciously set up a Triple Business Bottom Line. You will be able to immediately see and feel the difference in the people who are doing it better.


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