There are so many communities of socially and environmentally responsible businesses that constantly inspire us, from our 1% for the Planet community and beyond. We are thrilled to be able to advocate for other businesses focused on introducing eco-friendly thinking and sustainable practices to their respective industries. One business in particular that has been remarkable in transforming it’s industry in a sustainable manner is Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc.

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc. (a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble,) focuses on the operation of over 700 college bookstores. While the traditional American Bookstore industry has famously been shrinking since the 1990s, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc, has rapidly expanded in recent years while delivering on their promise to protect the environment. Through the implementation of greener stores, greener products, as well as greener business processes, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc has redefined the traditional college bookstore in spectacular fashion.

Barnes and Noble college bookstores have reconceptualized the role of sustainability in university bookstores and higher education. Structurally speaking, many of the stores have interiors made of recycled and upcycled fixtures and materials, and at the campuses request, Barnes and Noble’s experienced architects can help design LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified bookstores. Barnes and Noble College Booksellers, Inc has also set-up environmentally friendly processes within their internal organization, through the implementation of an online reporting tool and paperless invoices for both vendors and colleagues that eliminates sheets of merchandising reports every fiscal quarter.

The most significant and impressive change implemented by Barnes and Noble College Booksellers, Inc has been it’s dedication to the creation of digital education platforms for students and faculty. For students, Barnes and Noble college bookstores have released Yuzu, a free app that is compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops alike. Yuzu advertises itself as a “Next Generation Reading App,” where students can store their textbooks, take notes, organize their schedule, and stay on top of their classes. By utilizing a digital alternative to classic textbooks, students and universities are able to make a huge impact on the reduction of unnecessary paper waste. If you consider that the average college textbook contains 700 pages, a single college classroom would require one to two 45 ft tall trees per semester to print textbooks for each student. One or two trees doesn’t sound that bad until you consider each student is taking 5+ classes a semester and as of Fall 2014, 21 million students are expected to attend college and university in the United States alone. That’s a lot of trees that could be saved by going digital. To make the entire textbook experience more cohesive for both students and faculty, Barnes and Noble College Booksellers Inc. has released FacultyEnlight, an online textbook adoption platform. FacultyEnlight allows professors to research and adopt course materials online, where they can compare costs and standardize formats before adopting the materials for students.

Half a decade ago in a college dorm room, was founded with a mission to revolutionize the stationery industry and promote sustainability. It is inspiring that Barnes and Noble College bookstores continue to spread the mission of sustainability to nearly a thousand university campuses, and truly reaffirms our loyalty to our roots and our vision. With that being said, the team here at is honored to be working alongside great companies like Barnes and Noble College Booksellers Inc, and would like to applaud them for revolutionizing our world in a sustainable manner.

What are some other companies that are making strides to make higher education more eco-friendly? Tell us in the comments section below!

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