Carbon Offsets
Case Study

Who doesn’t like getting a package in the mail? Whether it is expected or not, opening the box always carries with it a moment of anticipation. What’s unfortunate is that the delivery comes with a carbon price tag. That’s because no matter how it is transported, all shipping has some measure of carbon emissions.

So what do you do when you are an organization dedicated to making a better world, yet success also equals a larger carbon footprint? It becomes a balancing act.  

(Carbon) Balancing Workplace Demands
Better World Books

Better World Books’ business is to relocate books from one part of the globe to another and get them in the hands of new readers. Funding for this activity is raised by selling other books online direct to consumers. To reduce the carbon cost of all this transportation the team at Better World Books works with 3Degrees to purchase carbon offsets generated at projects actively keeping carbon from entering the atmosphere like McKinney Landfill in Texas. 

To make this work for the company there were two other key considerations: keep costs low so budget can stay focused on their mission. And managing the carbon footprint of all these shipments could not become an administrative burden. In response, the organization automated the process by building it into every transaction. The system is easy: a customer buys a book, pays a few pennies more and the book’s shipping-based carbon footprint is neutralized. Those pennies then goes into a pool that is annually used to purchase carbon offsets.

It’s wise decisions like this that have helped Better World Books become the global literacy player it is today.

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Better World Books + 3Degrees

Once ready to purchase Better World Books knew they wanted to work with 3Degrees. “Their award winning reputation and work with Fortune 500 companies gave us confidence in their abilities,” said Diane Maier, Director of Global Marketing and Sales Support at Better World Books. “The fact that they are a B Corp too was a real bonus – we want to align our company with others that share the same values.”

Better World Books also supports renewable energy with renewable energy certificates (RECs), purchased from 3Degrees. Their combined purchase of RECs and carbon offsets in one year has an environmental impact similar to:

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About Better World Books

Better World Books is a for-profit social enterprise and a global e-retailer providing products and information to socially conscious consumers. Better World Books collects and sells new and used books online matching each purchase with a donation, book for book, and with each sale generating funds for literacy initiatives in the U.S. and around the world. Since its founding in 2003, and Mishawaka, Indiana-based company has raised more than $23 million for libraries and literacy, donated 20 million books; re-used or recycled over 229 million books and achieved 44,000 tons of carbon offsets through carbon balanced shipping.