Canada's largest publisher dedicated to sustainability books.

Chris and Judith Plant, principals of New Society Publishers //
Number of Employees: 
Annual Sales:
$3.9 million

Chris and Judith's Story

From the remote BC interior, Chris and Judith Plant published The New Catalyst magazine on bioregional values, while Judith toiled away at her first book, Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism. Her publisher—New Society Publishers in Philadelphia—was run by non-violence activists who became trusted friends. They convinced Chris and Judith to start a New Society Publishers in Canada, using books to spread their ideas to a broader audience. For five years, the two offices ran as collaborating non-profits, until the Philadelphia office hit hard times. "We were struggling journalists when it happened, without the money to buy them out," remembers Judith. But through serendipitous connections they would find the money and become an award-winning publisher of books on sustainability.

Meeting Renewal Partners

A lawyer was advising Chris and Judith on fundraising for a buy-out and suggested they meet Joel Solomon from Renewal Partners. They recognized Joel's name from The New Catalyst subscription list. "We met for lunch, but didn't leave until after four," remembers Judith. "In those hours Joel convinced us that we'd be more effective as a for-profit. We had never believed in corporate structure. But Joel planted the idea in our hearts and minds, and it filled us with a new energy we still have today." With an investment from Renewal, Chris and Judith bought out the Philadelphia office and incorporated in 1996.

Making Ripples

Today, New Society Publishers has published over 150 books on topics ranging from peak oil to progressive parenting. Their best-selling books surpass 50,000 copies, including the groundbreaking title Our Ecological Footprint. Through it all, they have strived to practice what they publish. "When writers have something meaningful to say about sustainability, it is important for them to have a publisher who supports their philosophy," explains Judith. Since their incorporation, New Society has won three awards for environmental and social responsibility. In 2001, they committed to publishing all forthcoming books on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, inspiring others in the industry to follow. In 2005, they became the first carbon neutral publishing company in North America. But for Chris and Judith there is one accomplishment that supersedes all others in the measure of success: the unlikely customer at the end of the sales table with a stack of books and a smile on their face.