March 8, 2022
Lee GouldIn 1994, John Elkington — the famed author and entrepreneur, coined the phrase “triple bottom line” as his way of measuring business performance. Elkington’s idea was that businesses can be managed in a way that not only makes money, but which also improves people’s lives and the well-being of the planet in a mutually supportive and non-competitive way.

In short, the triple bottom line (TBL) maintains that companies should commit to focusing as much on social and environmental concerns as they do on profits in a win-win-win framework. TBL theory assumes that instead of one bottom line, there should be three: profit, people, and the planet. A TBL seeks to gauge a business’s level of commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its affect on the environment over time. According to the framework, all businesses benefit from considering these three “bottom lines” at the same time:

Profit: This is the traditional measure of corporate profit — the profit and loss (P&L) account.
People: This measures how socially responsible an organization can and should be.
Planet: This measures how environmentally responsible and friendly a business can be.

people planet profit chartIn the context of winter maintenance, we can offer the following scenario. A snow and ice removal company implements segmented plow blades. The new equipment boosts the ‘business’ bottom line with more efficient operations, less fuel consumption and lower labour costs. From a ‘people’ perspective, you’ve got happier clients, reduced slip and fall risks to the public, and employees who benefit from working with better tools for their job.

Finally, from an environmental perspective, better equipment and winter maintenance practices means less salt is needed. Lower salt use means less leaching into watersheds where it can have negative effects on ecosystems. It’s a win-win-win.

Those wishing to learn more about the unique programs and services offered by the Smart About Salt Council and how they support professionals in the winter maintenance industry, including contractors and facility owners/operators, are encouraged to visit
Lee Gould
Executive Director, Smart About Salt Council