Better World Books Case Study

3162 words 13 pages
Better World Books: Social Entrepreneurship and the Triple Bottom Line

Background: Better World Books Better World Books (BWB) was founded in 2002 as a B corporation, meaning it targets successful performance in three fundamental areas: financial, social, and environmental endeavors. BWB has grown successfully since its creation as a small, socially motivated firm to one of the larger, more successful corporations of its kind. Despite the impressive and inspiring performance and growth through creative expansions, BWB acknowledges the changing conditions of the used book marketplace and is pleased to outline a brief review of current strategy and recommendations for supporting operations moving forward. BWB Current Vision:
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With the exception of the five percent of net revenue extended to BWB’s major literacy partners, the social commitment is tied directly as a percentage of revenue, so there is built-in safety net that the organization will not over extend itself in its charitable donations. This model keeps the long-term commitment towards social causes in the BWB forefront, provided the revenue stream remains in place.

Environmental Commitment
BWB has such a strong commitment to environmental responsibility, it has on staff a full time sustainability manager (Rothaermel, Arthaud-Day, & Grigoriou, 2013, p. C23). The organizational concept of providing an avenue to connect book donor with a book consumer has a natural advantage by avoiding raw materials in the production process. BWB’s main environmental footprint is a result of all of the shipping required to connect donors with their operational warehouses, and their warehouses with a buyer. To offset these carbon emissions, the organization funds third party activities to reduce their footprint. BWB also chooses business partners who employ environmentally sustainable business practices and those with track records of less energy consumption and waste.

Revenue has increased 80 times in five years leading to the fundamental question at this point. Are the current methods sustainable in the long term? In reviewing the


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