Bamboo bikes: Cool idea with a triple bottom line

Bamboo frame road bike built by Calfee Design
For many of us, cycling is our main mode of transportation within the city. As fuel costs rise and traffic congestion on city streets worsens, more and more people are turning to the humble bike as an alternative means of getting from point A to point B.

Recently, I attended a lunch-n-learn offered by MaRS’ Social Innovation Generation (SiG) team, where they introduced me to the concept of the triple bottom line. A triple bottom line or 3BL exists when the mission of an enterprise is expanded to include environmental and social performance goals in addition to financial ones. This concept brought to mind a company in California I had read about that makes bamboo bike frames.

Calfee Design not only builds bike frames from bamboo, an abundant and renewable resource, they’ve also partnered with the Earth Institute at Columbia University on the Bamboo Bike Project to build bamboo frame cargo bikes as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa. Combining social and environmental responsibility into their business mix gives Calfee Design a 3BL and a high social innovation ranking.

If you have a business idea with a 3BL, visit the SiG page for more information on social entrepreneurship and SiG.