Triple Bottom Line as a Business Model

Article provides an example of a "triple bottom line" business model, its application and benefits.

Fleetwood Fixtures in Ontelaunee Pennsylvania is a great example of the triple bottom line in action. In the process of implementing this business model they have managed to expand the type of customer they would attract, no small feat in a down economy.

Their website lists their mission:

  • FLEETWOOD resolves to mindfully utilize fewer resources and place equal value on social, environmental, and financial issues.
  • We are committed to continued operational improvements to meet the present and future needs of our clients. We do this in an ongoing effort to reduce our impact on the environment, and the security of future generations.
  • We are dedicated to these principles and will continue to define, improve, innovate and integrate sustainable business practices into our organization and culture.
  • At FLEETWOOD, we are proud of our collaborative work with an expanding circle of clients, in an effort to support sustainability.
  • We Reclaim, Recycle and Respect our environment.

Fulfilling this mission was not without some upfront cost. In "readingeagle.com" online Doug Oswald, manager of information systems and facilities reported that the company spent $30,000 replacing the lighting in the shop with high efficiency lighting. They pay off was the $3,000 to $5,000 savings in their electric bill every month.

They have a committee that looks for ways to improve efficiencies and work experience for the employees. "Loretta Ferretti, director of operations, said the sustainability program is self-funded.

"Whenever projects save the company money, the committee is allowed to take those savings and use them as credits against future projects," Ferretti said.

Some of those projects paid for with savings include the replacement of the coffee in the break rooms with fair trade coffee.

"But the most visible change is the addition of an 80-by-60-foot store where the public has the opportunity to purchase production overruns and obsolete inventory at a greatly reduced cost.

"This is more about diverting items away from a landfill than it is about making money," Oswald said.

The store is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 7 a.m. through noon.

Employees and owners volunteer their time to run the store.

"We have between 25 to 30 shoppers on a Saturday morning, which include small-business owners looking for fixtures for their stores and homeowners looking for unique designer items," Oswald said."

This is how Fleetwood Fixtures has been able to expand the types of shoppers coming to their store. Even if they only break even on the store the increase in their market presence more than offsets their investment.

It is this kind of innovative thinking combined with a commitment to the environment, customer service and positive work environment that can help any business weather economic challenges and come out ahead when the market recovers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Larry Lewis September 11, 2011 at 06:04 AM
Every company is inescapably part of its community and environment, and to explicitly recognize and act upon that is to improve all three. On the other hand, many companies act, essentially, as sociopaths, focussed on their own limited, short-term desires, and taking no account whatsoever of the needs or desires of the rest of the community. Hallelujah for those business owners who choose to grow up and act responsibly and positively!


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