Inside a bright yellow building in the Pacific Northwest is a company that is making the world a better place. They do it one book at a time. This business is Scout Books, a B Corporation and collaborative notebook brand. The company designs, prints, and binds environmentally-friendly books for talented people and businesses around the world. How do they do it? By using recycled papers, vegetable based inks, and equipment powered by renewable energy. We’ll let their CEO Laura Whipple explain more about how that works in her own words. Read on to find out more about Laura and her Portland, OR-based B Corp.
What’s our mission statement?
“ At Scout Books, our mission is to make the world a better place, one book at a time. We work with integrity and creativity to provide lasting value to our customers and stakeholders. We pledge to make the highest quality products, while operating our business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Our pledge also balances our considerations equally between people, planet and profit. We founded Scout Books in 2009. The company offers a more sustainable, accessible and inspiring option for people who want to make custom books and notebooks that empower their communication, curiosity and creativity.”
What did our journey look like to become a Certified B Corporation?
“Going through the B Corp certification process in 2017 was a wonderful challenge. It forced our team to carefully look at who we are as a company and who we want to be. Then, we were able to articulate those commitments with the appropriate policies, practices, and documentation. It was intense and took us eighteen months from making the decision to try to actually becoming certified! The benefit of all that scrutiny and hard work is that we can now use a shared set of standards to measure how we’re performing as a business that truly wants to be a force for good, and then make continual adjustments to improve in all four areas measured by the B Lab: governance, workers, community and the environment. The absolute best part about owning a B Corp is having continual access to mentorship and inspiration from the other members of the B Corp community. ”
We live our bookworm dreams every day.
“Making custom books every day for all of our amazing customers is a dream come true! Being able to provide rewarding careers while making this dream a reality is one of our biggest successes. Even more specifically, this ongoing project to publish Field Guides to Ensure Voter Intent through better election design (created by the Center for Civic Design) makes us feel very proud of the important work we can accomplish together.”
How choosing recycled materials allows us to “B The Change”
“We manufacture a versatile book product line made with 100% recycled paper. This commitment to recycled materials that we’ve had since the company was founded has had a big impact. In 2018, choosing 100% recycled papers means we save approximately 232 trees per month (calculated using the Paper Calculator).”
How do I become a B Corp?
“Please do consider becoming one! To gain a better understanding of the process and deeper motivations behind the movement, I highly recommend taking the online B Impact Assessment test and reading The B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman. You can also sign up for webinars from the B Lab to learn more, and attend B Corp learning lunches, and other local events offered by the B Corp community in your area. It never hurts to reach out to B Corp Certified businesses you admire to see how they made it happen. Once you go through the process, you need to assign a specific person in your organization to be the B-keeper. You will need perseverance, and methodical record keeping to get through the process. Make sure this person is inspired, and detail oriented.”
Where can B Corporations go next?
“ Our collective future is determined by actions we take today, and businesses making the pledge of interdependence to be a force for good in the world is more important than it has ever been. Solving critical local, regional, national and global challenges will require deeper commitments from everyone, and becoming a member of the B Corp movement is a wonderful and tangible way to turn those commitments to the greater good into action. To quote the Rose Marcario, the CEO of Patagonia, ‘The B Corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders – it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet.'”
About Laura Whipple, CEO and Co-Founder, Scout Books
Laura Whipple is a dreamer, doer and creative entrepreneur. She’s the CEO and Co-Founder of Scout Books. This company is a B Corp certified custom notebook manufacturer housed in two incredibly yellow buildings in Portland, Oregon. She is a print culture enthusiast. Her work is fueled by a love for ink, paper, fostering curiosity, collaboration, nature, and the making of meaningful things. A former Fulbright scholar, she’s served as a member of the Advisory Team for Design Week Portland, and holds Bachelor degrees in Anthropology and History from Willamette University. Along with her incredible team, she’s had the honor of working with thousands of inspiring clients over the past sixteen years to bring their big ideas to life in print, including the Center for Civic Design, Wikipedia, United by Blue, 33 Books, 99% Invisible, Etsy, Travel Portland, WordPress, WeWork, Squarespace, Bitch Media, The Sketchbook Project, The New York Times, Google, and Patagonia.