Kaupapa Multiple Bottom Line

The purpose of the multiple bottom line tool is to evaluate prospective commercial ventures in any sector against kaupapa derived standards.

It is based on the assumption that Iwi and Māori organisations expect their commercial endeavours to:

  • be consistent with the traditions, visions and values of the iwi/organisation; and
  • contribute to both economic growth and non-financial outcomes sourced in the kaupapa of the iwi/organisation.

The tool is intended to support decision making on prospective commercial ventures by producing a transparent representation of the proposition according to commercial and kaupapa standards. The tool is a generic template that will need to be modified to properly reflect the visions, values and priorities of each user group.


The multiple bottom line tool is modelled on the tool developed by Kamehameha School. The pioneering role taken by Kamehameha Schools is acknowledged with much appreciation for being able to adapt the tool.


The tool consists of a matrix of standards according to five categories:

Commercial profile – provides for analysis of the economic benefit of the proposition, and is primarily about assessing the risk- return profile and consistency with the asset allocation policy.

Mana whenua standards – provides for analysis of the benefits generated according to the principle of mana whenua, encompassing the recognition of the authority of hapū, contributing to hapū development and the strengthening of the tribal presence within the rohe/takiwā.

Mana tūpuna standards – provides for analysis of how the proposition reflects the traditions, leadership and precedents of the iwi, in order to assist with maintaining inter-generational continuity.

Kaitiakitanga standards – provides for analysis of how the proposition embodies the reciprocal relationship between people and place, with particular emphasis on reducing negative environmental impact.

Whanaungatanga standards – provides for analysis of how the proposition contributes to the strengthening of whānau, relationships with Iwi and other partners of importance to the organisation.


Once the matrix has been completed, the calculation of the implications of the venture will be performed automatically. The results can be analysed and integrated into recommendations as to whether or not the venture should be pursued. In a tangible sense, the product is a spider diagram that depicts the consistency of the venture with kaupapa values:


It is likely that the tool will need to be adapted so that it more appropriately reflects the traditions, values, vision and priorities of iwi/organisations. This can readily be done by changing the standards as well as the weighting of the different standards. There are also alternative structures/categories that could be used for the kaupapa values, such as the ngā tapa whā model, the wheke, or mauri models the former two developed in the health context and the latter for natural resource management, as well as self-generated approaches by Iwi.


Download the Kaupapa Multiple Bottom Line evaluation tool here:
Kaupapa Bottomline Tool »

Download the Kaupapa Multiple Bottom Line evaluation matrix here:
Kaupapa Bottomline Matrix »

Background on the Triple Bottom Line

The triple, and more recently the quadruple, bottom line is becoming increasingly prevalent in the global marketplace. Many commentators are now arguing that business needs to take into account social and environmental factors for their ‘license to operate’ within society. The triple/quadruple bottom line has evolved in response, but there are a range of different meanings and practices associated with it. In the main, it seems to focus on reducing the negative impacts of business and is generally practiced by:

Management policies – which help to identify environmental and social impacts, and include such things as environmental management systems.

‘Taking into account’ environmental and social issues – which can lead to business changes, such as:

  • using more recycled content in products,
  • trying to create ‘closed loop’ systems which remove waste,
  • ensuring that global partners uphold all human rights standards.

Reporting – on the company’s adherence to principles and standards. The most common reporting frameworks are the GRI, AA1000 and UN Global Compact.

Indexes – creating indexes that reveal the sustainability implications of particular products, such as food miles and the Sustainability Consortium led by Walmart which is endeavouring to develop a comprehensive environmental sustainability index. These indexes also serve as market differentiators (and therefore have commercial value).

The tools that companies use to work through any trade offs between commercial returns and social and environmental impacts, outside of management policies, tend to be highly technical assessments of discrete aspects of the business – for example, life cycle assessments of products, measuring energy efficiency and the like. These aspects of the multiple bottom line have been incorporated into different tools in the kaupapa kit (eg management policies are included in the organisational tools section, as is reporting, ‘taking into account environmental and social issues’ are included in the commercialism section, and the various international frameworks are identified at relevant points).

What the mainstream publically available triple/quadruple bottom line tools don’t do (as yet) is provide a way of judging the suitability/desirability of a particular business venture against multiple bottom lines. To date, it appears that Kamehameha Schools are leading the development of practical tools for decision making on specific ventures against multiple values.

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