BETTER WORLD BOOKS BECOMES A FOUNDING B CORPORATION
Online bookseller promotes literacy worldwide while benefiting its partners, employees and the environment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 6, 2007
Berwyn, PA — B Lab today announced it has certified online bookseller Better World Books, a leading online seller of new and used books, as a Founding B Corporation™. With the certification, Better World Books joins a growing international network of purpose-driven businesses dedicated to setting a new standard for social and environmental performance, creating benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
To become certified B Corporations, businesses must meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards and amend their corporate governing documents to incorporate the interests of employees, community and the environment.
“Being a successful business and having a social impact are not mutually exclusive,” said Better World Books President and CEO David Murphy. “Through our retail website, BetterWorld.com, customers can find the books they want, enjoy free, carbon-neutral shipping, and help fund literacy with each purchase.”
Based in Mishawaka, Indiana, Better World Books was established in 2003 by three Notre Dame graduates with a simple, yet transformative idea – run a book donation drive, collect as many titles as possible, then sell those books to fund a reading program at a local community center. Entrepreneurs at heart, Better World Books’ founders quickly grew their idea into an online retail presence which integrates social impact into the core of its business model.
By sourcing and reselling used books in a way no major book seller had ever before tried, Better World tapped into a burgeoning new consumer market with a desire and passion for social responsibility. In just four years, Better World Books has raised more than $2.3 million dollars for global literacy programs, while growing quickly from 3 to 130 employees.
“Better World Books is a unique Social Enterprise—a triple bottom line business where creating a nursing library in Somaliland, supporting employees with profit sharing and equity ownership opportunities, and shipping book orders climate neutral are not simply by-products of doing business—it is the business,” said Murphy.
BetterWorld.com carries over two million new and used titles. The company acquires its inventory of used books from two primary sources: a Campus Collection Program organizes regular books drives for world literacy at more than 1200 colleges and universities; and a Library Discards and Donations Program provides more than 800 local libraries a needed outlet for redistributing donated books they can no longer keep or shelve.
“Better World Books is strong and growing business that beats the competition on price and values,” said B Lab co-founder Bart Houlahan. “Not only does Better World Books help customers save money, they also put their money where their heart is by funding vitally important literacy programs around the world.”
Through its partnerships with well established and widely respected organizations working on four continents: Room to Read, Books for Africa, Worldfund, and the National Center for Family Literacy, Better World Books capitalizes on the intrinsic value of books to support literacy initiatives. Support is not limited to dollars, however. Better World Books also works with its partners to ship books to classrooms and libraries where they are needed most. In collaboration with Books for Africa, for instance, Better World Books has delivered more than 550,000 textbooks to resource-starved colleges and universities throughout the African continent.
B Lab helps companies like Better World Books set the new corporate standard for social and environmental performance. Since its founding in 1972, B Lab has certified over thirty companies with a collective market presence of $380 million, all leaders within the green, local living economies, employee-ownership, fair trade, organic, and sustainable business movements and from the food, apparel, home, financial services, building, action sports, technology, business services, telecom, restaurant, marketing, and retail industries.
About B Lab B Lab, a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, supports B Corporations by: certifying B Corporations who achieve a minimum score on the B Ratings System; disseminating a legal framework to institutionalize stakeholder interests within existing corporate law; promoting B Corporations through a unifying brand; and helping B Corporations access mission-aligned capital markets.
Founding B Corporations to date, with a collective market presence of about $350 million, include: A-1 Builders, Blueprint Research & Design, Inc., BBMG, Benchmark Asset Management, BeOn, Better World Telecom, Better World Books, Blueprint Research & Design, Comet Skateboards, Culinary Collective, egg, Give Something Back, Good Capital, Green Harvest Technologies, Indigenous Designs, King Arthur Flour, Lateral Line Fishing Gear and Apparel, Learning & Vision Partners, Mal Warwick Associates, Matiz Espana, Method Products, Inc., Moka Joe Coffee, New Leaf Paper, Pura Vida Coffee, Seventh Generation, Uncommon Goods, Untours, Village Books, White Dog Caf