Triple Bottom Line of Scouting

Camp Pic2What is your definition of sustainability? As I visited BSA camps this summer, I realized there are huge gaps in people’s understanding of this word. The most common perception of my role as a sustainability consultant was to basically evaluate “how camps recycle and if they use solar or things like that.”

From my last 10 years of touring the country, what I have learned and what I want to share, is that sustainability is not something that belongs in a silo. It is not how I will be defining sustainability within my reporting for the BSA. I view sustainability through a more holistic lens (which some describe as the Triple Bottom Line).

I am exploring the following aspects related to a camp’s sustainability—environmental (food, water, waste, infrastructure, power, and land management); social (partnerships, service, diversity, education, and recreation); and financial (fundraising, profitability, and long-term planning).

In October, I will be working with the BSA to publish the first industry-wide Sustainability Report. Our goal will be to help curate a common definition and outline the scope of sustainability within Scouting. When we can agree on a definition, we will be able to begin measuring the current state of the industry evaluated through the criteria mentioned above, and then begin to set goals for future responsible growth.

Here is an article published in Triple Pundit that describes the importance of metrics when measuring sustainability and how major companies all over the country are adopting these measures in their standard business operations.

My goal through my travels and this blog is not just to show what select camps are doing to be more “sustainable,” but to share with the entire Scouting community different perspectives and strategies related to the field of sustainability.




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Throughout summer 2014, Zach Carson will visit over 40 BSA High Adventure Bases to learn how they incorporate sustainability and conservation into their programs. You can follow his "sustainability road trip" at