In 2008, we commissioned a report from the consulting group The Idea Hive to search the Internet to find examples of organizations doing concrete work on the triple bottom line. That report, State of the Art of the Triple Bottom Line, contained this observation:
“As society moves beyond mitigating harm to designing products and services for positive social, environmental and financial effects, the need also arises for an organization that can compile, evaluate and communicate the vast efforts taking place in North America and beyond. Such an organization could take a leadership position in a system that is in need of coordination and perspective.”
The primary challenge with organizing the work of sustainability is that the field remains a relatively new one. While the field is exploding in terms of research and practice, its work will accelerate if there is a concerted effort to develop a knowledge base about sustainability that allows academics, policy makers, practitioners, and investors to coordinate and build upon their respective efforts.