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Exploring the importance of Sustainable Business

Fran Ellington, Business Development Director and ESG Lead at Triple Bottom Line Accounting talks to Andy Gray, Local Enterprise Manager at NatWest.

Listen to the 30-minute podcast below.

Hear the story of Triple Bottom Line Accounting, founded by Peter Ellington in 2009, and find out what changed when Fran joined the team in 2019 in order to put the “triple bottom line” – people, planet, and prosperity into practice.

In this podcast, Andy asks Fran whether “sustainable business” is only for corporates and large firms. Fran gives examples of the huge role SMEs can play while acknowledging the progress being made by large multinationals such as Unilever, Danone, and L’Oréal(corporations that can afford dedicated teams working on sustainability and ESG impact.) Fran explains what is meant by “sustainable business” and the key characteristics of such businesses. She gives examples of how SMEs with small profit margins can still make significant changes leading to positive social and environmental impact. Fran described the TBLA model for helping small businesses begin to plan for positive impact, and the importance of writing an authentic impact narrative.  Authenticity requires an honest assessment of shortcomings and is the first step towards making a positive impact. Fran encourages a collaborative approach involving all employees and, ideally, other stakeholders in an “ideas and target setting workshop”. When stakeholders understand why change is needed and are given the opportunity to come up with solutions during the facilitated workshop, the SME is more likely to meet or even exceed its agreed impact targets.

Many thanks to Antony Howell of Broom Boats for allowing us to share its story and some of its plans to become more sustainable going forward. This is a case study of a local business with a plan to become more sustainable, preserve the biodiversity and natural beauty of the Norfolk Broads,  and reach net-zero emissions –  while at the same time understanding the constraints it faces in terms of affordability and what is currently technologically possible.


Photo: The Enterprise Centre, UEA where you will find the Triple Bottom Line office: showcased at COP26 as one of the world’s most sustainable buildings.

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