New Society Publishers

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New Society Publishers' mission is to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and to do so with the least possible impact on the environment, in a manner that models this vision.

Walking the Talk

New Society Publishers is committed to building an ecologically sustainable and just society not just through education, but through action. We're walking our talk. We're acting on our commitment to the world's remaining ancient forests by phasing out our paper supply from ancient forests worldwide, and by going carbon neutral!

Ancient-Forest Friendly Paper

In summer of 2001, with the publication of Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change, New Society committed to publishing all of its forthcoming regular books on acid-free paper that is 100% old growth forest-free (100% post-consumer recycled), processed chlorine free, and printed with vegetable based, low VOC inks. We were the first North American publisher to make such a commitment. Sourcing this paper initially from New Leaf Paper in San Francisco, we have since printed over half a million books this way, and have helped start a revolution in the publishing industry.

With the invaluable help of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia and guidance from Markets Initiative, 71 Canadian publishers have committed to eliminating their use of papers containing ancient forest fibers (AFF); more than six million books have been printed on AFF since 2001; eight Canadian printers now stock AFF papers, and upwards of 12 new papers have been developed in response to this initiative; 61 US publishers and 14 Dutch publishers have developed commitments similar to those of their Canadian colleagues and work is underway in nine other countries including the UK, Italy, and Germany. In North America, the Green Press Initiative has assisted with this amazing progress, their mandate being "to create paper-use transformations that will conserve natural resources and preserve endangered forests" (see

Each New Society book contains an Eco-Audit indicating the environmental benefits of doing this in terms of:

  • Trees saved (- see the counter!)
  • Pounds of solid waste
  • Gallons of water saved
  • Kilowatt hours of electricity saved
  • Pounds of greenhouse gases avoided
  • Pounds of HAPs, VOCs, and AOX combined, and
  • Cubic yards of landfill space

Although printing on 100% PCW recycled paper costs us a premium, it is one step toward ending global deforestation and climate change. Insist that all books you buy do the same!

Carbon Neutral Program

In 2005, New Society took its commitment to the environment up another notch by becoming the first North American publishing company to become carbon neutral. Each year we neutralize all of our carbon emissions by investing in initiatives that will prevent the release of a similar quantity of emissions elsewhere, or which will achieve long-term carbon-storage.

In 2007 we neutralized 324.652 tonnes of CO2 emissions by purchasing emission reduction credits from Cooler Skies ( which contributed to projects generating renewable energy through Biomass, Wind Farming and Methane Recovery. Click here for details.

As part of this project, New Society author and consultant Guy Dauncey also produced a paper, Going Carbon Neutral: A Guide for Publishers , designed for use by any publisher in the world as a template to help them do the same. This is available free of charge as a download: Going Carbon Neutral: A Guide for Publishers (US edition) Going Carbon Neutral: A Guide for Publishers (Metric edition)

It is worth noting that using 100% Post Consumer recycled, Ancient Forest Friendly paper in our books and office, already yields a reduction of 36% in our annual carbon emissions over "business as usual." Some of New Society's other carbon neutral initiatives include producing a "paperless catalogue" which is available on our website, and making many of our titles available as e-books through and

Social and Environmental Responsibility

New Society Publishers strives to walk its talk in terms of social and environmental responsibility in these other ways as well:

  • We also bulk purchase our office paper that is 100% post consumer recycled fiber Processed Chlorine Free (PCF), union made in Canada (Rolland DP 100).
  • All our office paper is recycled through our local on-island recycling depot.
  • Our staff are covered by an extended healthcare benefits package and receive six weeks paid vacation annually, as well as bonuses when possible.
  • We tithe monthly to our local Community Kitchen project to help ensure that everyone in our community has access to good quality food.
  • We regularly donate books to prisoners, as well as making donations to other groups to help their fundraising efforts.


We are proud to have been honored with several awards in recent years:

  • Ethics in Action award, 1997: [Ethics in Action - Award Recipient] New Society Publishers received the Ethics in Action award for Ongoing Social Responsibility (Business) given by the Canadian Businesses for Social Responsibility.
  • Ethics in Action award, 2002: New Society Publishers was again honored with an Ethics in Action award, this time for Environmental Excellence, Small to Medium Sized Business. The award preamble stated:

... By working with environmentalists, other publishers, paper suppliers, and printers, they have pioneered new technologies and have helped shift the publishing industry towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly framework.

New Society Publishers demonstrates their commitment to social and environmental responsibility through a commitment to a respectful and healthy work environment. Ensuring that staff are stimulated, well treated, and safe is the driving force of their business.

  • The Jim Douglas British Columbia Publisher of the Year Award, 2003: ( Awards Page) This award was presented by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia in recognition of the excellence and social relevance of New Society Publisher's publishing program and their promotion of environmental sensitivity in the publishing process.

Company History

New Society Publishers focuses on books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society. Our work speaks to individuals and organizations interested in changing their lives so that they may change the world for the better.

Now more than twenty years old, New Society Publishers (NSP) is an activist publisher focusing mostly on positive, solutions-oriented books. Our roots are firmly in the activist soil of both the United States and Canada. In the US, a Philadelphia office first emerged from the movement for a nonviolent society during the anti-Vietnam war and was the first organization in the US to offer nonviolent, civil disobedience training. From this work grew the need for a publishing house, and New Society Publishers was created in the late 1970s with a mandate to publish books for nonviolent social change.

NSP's Canadian office began as a project of the Catalyst Education Society that had its origins in British Columbia's food co-op movement of the early '70s, and The New Catalyst magazine from the bioregional movement of the '80s. The US and Canadian organizations came together in 1990. For five years, the two offices operated as independent non-profits governed by a mutual aid agreement. Later, in 1996, the Canadian office formed a limited company and, through a friendly buy-out, took over continent-wide operations and the complete list of books. In this we were much helped by Joel Solomon and Carol Newell of Renewal Partners whose investment in the company made it possible. We are based on Gabriola Island, one of the beautiful northern Gulf Islands in the province of British Columbia, Canada. NSP headquarters is located within a ten-acre piece of forest, surrounded by a pond, gardens and chicken yard - and way too many dogs!

Books to Build a New Society

Since 1996, New Society Publishers has flourished. Committed to facilitating social change, our mandate from the early years has broadened to embrace a broad social transformation toward sustainability. We specialize in providing the understanding, the tools and the skills for enabling such a transformation to occur. Our editorial focus on sustainable living includes a broad subject area ranging from globalization, through green building and renewable energy, to conscientious commerce, conflict education, and more. We aim to help build an alternative infrastructure to that of the mainstream, an alternative to mega-corporate dominated media and the large corporate influence over so many facets of our lives. In short, we publish books to build a new society.

NSP also sees itself as a solutions publisher, providing 'good news' most of the time as well as clear analysis of the major issues we face in the struggle to create a more just and equitable world. We see this as a practical task, as well as a spiritual and intellectual task, and one in which values play a crucial part. As practicing bioregionalists, we believe in creating the future we seek, with priority placed on the natural, the local and regional, the self-reliant. Day to day, we are inspired by those who offer a positive vision of the future. We gain satisfaction from providing activists and visionaries with a broader voice, and from sharing the creativity of trouble-makers, organizers and writers in so many spheres who are working to create a better, more sustainable world.

We publish most of our books primarily for the North American market, with 80% of our total sales coming from the United States. Our books are also distributed in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. And several NSP titles have reached the far corners of the planet in translation, notably perhaps Our Ecological Footprint, by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel, one of our 'signature books' which has been translated into many different languages.

We sincerely acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for a portion of our work.

The New Society Team

The Principals

Judith and Christopher Plant are the principals of the company. They met in Vancouver studying Communications at Simon Fraser University. Activists in the bioregional movement, they founded The New Catalyst magazine -- a bioregional quarterly -- in 1985, while living in the remote interior of British Columbia. Using power generated by a micro-hydro turbine on the nearby creek, they created the first few editions on an Osborne portable computer, peering into a four by three-inch green-hued screen. This was their paleo-technic publishing era. The New Catalyst aimed to connect people engaged in common struggles from around the province and the wider world, and during its decade or so in existence, built up a not inconsiderable readership. Persuaded by editors at New Society Publishers to make their work more enduring by packaging it into books, they formed a Canadian office of NSP in 1990, originating two volumes a year in The New Catalyst's Bioregional Series, and marketing NSP books into Canada.

Judith Plant, a former adult educator, became an author with the release in 1990 of her book, Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism published by New Society. Ground-breaking at the time, it sold over 10,000 copies in short order and was later released in both Canada and the UK. At New Society, Judith directs the Marketing and Rights departments, as well as being a key administrator in her role as copublisher.

Chris Plant started his publishing career in the South Pacific where he worked for five years as an organizer with the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement, with the Vanuaku Pati in the New Hebrides - later to become the government of Vanuatu - and as an editor with the Institute of Pacific Studies in Fiji. At New Society, he is the Acquisitions Editor and directs the Editorial department, as well as being copublisher.

NSP Staff

Sue Custance is Production Manager, managing the book production schedule as well as undertaking layout on certain projects, and coordinating the cover design process.

Greg Green is NSP's Design Director, overseeing the design of NSP books and catalogs, and coordinating graphics and layout.

Julie Raddysh manages New Society's Canadian warehouse and shipping department, ensuring that all book orders and catalog requests are processed to arrive safe and sound. She is ably assisted by Marj Mooney and Tanis Milne.

Joy Reeves, NSP's Sales, Customer Service and Office Manager, processes orders and monitors inventory in our two warehouses.

EJ Hurst is a Marketing Coordinator, handling marketing campaigns, including liason with publicists, and advertising.

Don Smardon is NSP's Information Technology Manager, overseeing the NSP web site and online store, as well as in-house systems technology.

Ginny Miller is Marketing Coordinator, handling marketing campaigns, direct mail and liasing with publicists.

Ailene Warner, NSP's Finance Manager, also handles key Canadian trade accounts, as well as permission requests.

Ingrid Witvoet is NSP's Managing Editor, ensuring the smooth passage of books through the editorial process.

Heather Nicholas manages our e-books and agented titles programs, coordinates special accounts, and provides technical backup when necessary.

NSP also works on a contract basis with a number of other editors, proofreaders, layout artists and cover designers, some of whom have worked for the company for many years.