Choosing a Career with the United Nations & Beyond

Attending the Annual United Nations Association conference the awareness and presence of the conversation of the triple bottom line is present and in the minds and words of those in attendance. The concept initially defined by John Elkington in 1994 was an outgrowth and expansion of the concept of sustainability which was first defined by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations in 1987. During the process of choosing your career you have the opportunities to identify this as an underpinning for your decisions. Even though you may not hear this concept as explained in these words the impact and process of the dialogue is deeply engrained and present in the social innovation sector. When organizations, conferences, and individuals use this standard as a way to pose questions, and generate initiatives all people benefit and are enriched.

The triple bottom line (abbreviated as "TBL" or "3BL", is also known as "people, planet, profit" or "the three pillars) captures an expansive spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) impact and contribution. If we dive deeper into this we see that success is measured in economic, ecological and social language. What is developing is the importance of applying this concept to choosing your career and exploring how organizations you work for and plan to work with can support your personal accountability with your triple bottom line.

As you dive deeper into choosing a career be it nationally or internationally or even with the United Nations the concept of triple bottom line is a serious and increasingly recognized concept in the public and private sectors. Consider for yourself your person assessment for triple bottom line reporting in your career choices. The Triple Bottom Line reporting has become an expected way for businesses to demonstrate they have strategies for sustainable growth. Why not use this as one of your criteria for choosing a career which will provide sustainable growth and expansion.

The triple bottom line is a form of reporting that takes into account the impact a business has in terms of social and environmental values along with financial returns. These three aspects integrated together generate a powerful and synergistic effect which impacts many generations and aspects of society.

In comparison traditional models were all about profit, profit and more profit. The triple bottom line reporting recognizes that the impact of not having happy, healthy people to staff a business and the natural environment able to sustain those people and supply resources for trade businesses won’t be sustainable in the long run.

The link between the triple bottom line is reflected in the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting. Similar UN standards apply to natural capital and human capital measurement to assist in measurements required by TBL, e.g. the ecoBudget standard for reporting ecological footprint. By having the historical perspective on where current trends have originated gives you a foundation in which to justify and explain your career inspiration and focus for choosing your career.

Those attending the Annual United Nations Association conference in Washington DC this week have the opportunity to hear keynote speaker, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General for the United Nations. The opportunity to hear from a current well respected statesman is a deeply powerful and unique experience. While attending any type of conference plan to meet people who are both similar and different than you are, and have it enhance your career path. Choosing a career that lines up with your personal value base is not only powerful but serves the personal and global triple bottom line.

Reporting from Washington DC, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies the Annual United Nations Association Conference.