What Are the 3 Ps of Sustainability

There has been a lot of talk about sustainability in recent years, especially concerning sustainable businesses and the impact that various industries have on the world around us. Harvard Business School defines sustainability as “doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society as a whole.” 

A growing number of consumers are becoming more interested in sustainability and, in response to this, they are purposely seeking out sustainable businesses and choosing them over their non-sustainable competitors. In 2023, if your business isn’t bragging about sustainability, it’s less likely to be noticed.

It’s easy to see why businesses, large and small, are looking at their own processes and considering making big sustainable changes. To do this successfully, businesses must consider the 3 Ps of sustainability – people, planet and profit – and make changes with all three in mind.

Understanding The 3 Ps of Sustainability - People, Planet and Profits

The 3 Ps of sustainability are the main principles of sustainable development for businesses. These are the three pillars that sustainability is built on. If a business wants to become more eco-friendly, changes need to be made with these three concepts in mind. The 3 Ps of sustainability – people, planet and profit – can then be used to assess how sustainable a business, product or service is. 


The idea behind the 3 Ps of sustainability is that a business should strive to achieve a balance between them all, and not simply focus on one or two. Finding the balance between people, the planet, and profitability should be a major part of any business’s long-term goals if it wants to become more sustainable. When done correctly, the 3 Ps of sustainability can lead to positive outcomes for a brand, as well as society and the environment.

What Does Each of the 3 Ps of Sustainability Mean?

To fully understand the 3 Ps of sustainability, you need to know what each one means and how it ties into the day-to-day running of a business.



The first P of sustainability is people, and this represents the social responsibility of a business. A sustainable business should consider the rights, wellbeing and working conditions of employees, as well as everyone who is part of the wider supply chain. It involves ensuring fair and equal treatment of individuals who work for the business, with a big focus on human rights. Many people think of the planet when they think about sustainable businesses, forgetting that issues such as poverty, education, health and wellbeing are just as important.



The second P of sustainability is the planet. It’s there to remind businesses that being environmentally friendly should be a major consideration and that every business process and operation impacts the world around us. There are many things a business can do to benefit the planet, such as choosing a local supplier instead of an international one or switching to renewable energy. Even small changes, such as encouraging everyone in the workplace to recycle, or reducing energy consumption, can make a big difference. 



The third and final P of sustainability is profit. This determines that a business needs to be profitable to be sustainable; otherwise, the business will struggle to run and eventually fail. It involves creating business processes and practices that support economic growth, profitability and the efficient use of resources while also considering the sustainable implications of doing so. By showcasing profit, a business is showcasing that it’s delivering something valuable to society. If the market is already saturated a business is unlikely to be profitable, and will struggle to be sustainable. Profitability is a key part of ensuring the success and viability of a sustainable business on a long-term basis. Without making a profit, there’s no room for a business to make positive environmental changes.

The Benefits of Being a More Sustainable Business

Of course, the most significant benefit of sustainable businesses is felt by the environment and society, but there are benefits to a business itself. Here are some of the key advantages a sustainable business is likely to enjoy.


  • Embrace Innovation -To be sustainable, a business must embrace innovation and regularly look for new ways to create value while minimising the negative impact on the planet. This can lead to the development of new products, services and business models that address changing market demands. Without a focus on sustainability, there’s no guarantee a business would embrace innovation in the same way.


  • Brand Reputation – There are a lot of businesses out there, which means competing for consumers. With consumers becoming increasingly aware of sustainability issues, sustainable businesses are regarded favourably. Businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability can boost brand image, build trust and attract environmentally conscious shoppers. 


  • Employee Engagement – Sustainability at work can boost employee morale and engagement, something that many businesses may struggle with otherwise. Many employees want to work for businesses that share similar sustainable views and want to work in a way that contributes positively to society. This means that a sustainable business might find it easier to attract and retain top talent.


  • Save Money – Many sustainable practices – such as energy efficiency and waste reduction – can lead to significant cost savings for a business over time. For example, being more energy efficient can significantly reduce energy bills. Similarly, creating a supply chain with smaller and more sustainable businesses can often be cheaper than using big, known and established vendors.


At Quickfire Digital, we understand the importance of sustainability, but we also know how difficult it can be to convey how sustainable a business is. Thankfully, we know how to design and develop websites with sustainability in mind. To find out more about our ecommerce 

services and bespoke offerings, get in touch with our helpful team of experts.

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