The Quadruple Bottom Line

By Sue Funkhouser

Last week I was catching up with Ari Durfel, Co-founder of Gather Restaurant and Back to the Earth Catering.  I had last seen him and his partner, Eric Fenster, at a seminar I was conducting about building inspired workplaces.

A little bit about them.  Eric and Ari, both Inspired by the same social and ecological ethos, joined forces to create businesses that would positively impact the planet. Their restaurant, Gather, serves to support the work of local sustainable farmers and ranchers, and bring the community together around the table. Their catering business started with the vision of greening the event industry by using best sustainable practices and serving organic, local food.

His barometers for success are:

  1. Financial Results
  2. Environmental Impact
  3. Social/Community Impact
  4. Affirmative Human Experience

Given my personal mission of creating healthy work-habitats for humans, I am inspired they go beyond the triple bottom line to include impact on individuals.  When I asked him about why he included affirmative human experience, he said, “Being alive is tough.” 

He asks himself and staff these types of questions:

  • When our customers (suppliers, investors, community) are interacting with our company, do they feel personally affirmed?
  • When people are interacting with you, do they feel personally affirmed?
  • How are we making employees feel seen?
  • How are we letting employees know the impact they are making?
  • How are we developing employees?
  • As an owner, to what extent do I cultivate personal connections with our employees?

My invitation to you:  How might you extend your triple bottom line to make an even greater impact inside and outside your organization? 


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