Employees of New Society Publishers become Shareholders in the Company

by: EJ on 09/04/2015

It is a business story full of love and passion; heroism and commitment, intelligence, generosity and resilience.  From their roots in the anti-Viet Nam war movement and nuclear free Pacific, Chris and Judith Plant of New Society Publishers built their highly developed and relevant Canadian publishing business into an international leader in activist publishing.  With a mission to publish books for non-violent, progressive transformational social activism, the company has repeatedly set the bar high for other publishing companies.  They were the first company in North America to print on 100% post-consumer recycled paper.  They are the only publishing company to produce a Guide to Environmentally Responsible Digital Reading and they one of the few publishing companies to be carbon neutral.  New Society Publishers are truly leaders in the field of sustainability and community building both in product and process. 

In an industry that often seems to be in a state of hand wringing, New Society Publishers have been remarkably nimble.  They brilliantly embraced new technologies, they hired


Judith and Chris Plant

and kept the most fabulous staff and they stayed true to their vision and mandate.  Now, with the passing of founder Chris Plant, the business is breaking ground once again.  It is with great pleasure and pride that a new employee shareholder agreement which paves the way for a new model of social enterprise and investment is announced.  

I encourage you to watch this short video of publisher Judith Plant reading the words of Julie Raddysh, Director of Operations, Sales & Marketing, introducing a new shareholder agreement for this most unusual of Canadian small businesses.

For an in-depth history of New Society Publishers watch the full video here.

On June 11, 2015, employees of New Society Publishers Ltd.  voted unanimously in favour of signing a shareholder’s agreement granting a newly formed Employee Trust one-third ownership of the company. The other two-thirds are held equally by Judith Plant, and by Carol Newell of Renewal Partners. This unique and innovative agreement has been carefully crafted as a model of social enterprise, demonstrating a new and better way of doing business.

New Society Publishers Staff

The shareholders agreement was initiated by Carol Newell, CM, Principal of Renewal Partners. Under the plan, rather than employees being required to make a financial contribution, Renewal Partners redistributed their shares to create an Employee Trust, in recognition of the employees’ past dedication. The Trust has been granted holdings in the company, as well as a seat on the Board of Directors, giving employees a role in both upper management and in charting the direction of the company. Julie Raddysh, Director of Operations, says, “The future is being placed in the hands of the people who have poured their blood, sweat, and yes, tears, into the company.”

In an innovative and exemplary move Newell and the Plants decided that all future growth in the company would be shared, with 50% going to the Employee Trust and 25% each to the other shareholders. Unlike typical business models, under this structure wealth is distributed throughout the company rather than going directly to the top. The goal is to motivate employees and recognize their commitment, while also inspiring other investors to consider similar initiatives. Carol Newell says, “Investments in local businesses just makes good local sense and is critical to the advancement of an equitable economy. It’s important for social purpose investors to step up and innovate new models of inclusion. New Society Publishers is committed to building more resilient communities and culture; its new shareholder agreement now models that mission.”

Judith Plant, publisher of New Society Publishers says, “This new shareholder agreement formalizes what Chris and I always felt, that we hold the company in trust.  Our work represents a legacy of activism and of the passionate commitment of authors past and present. We know that New Society will flourish under this groundbreaking arrangement, continuing to inform and motivate the work of future generations, while providing much-needed tools for a world of change .”

New Society Publishers is a global leader in books on sustainability with over 150 titles in print. For over 30 years, we have been publishing books that contribute to building an ecologically sustainable and just society.






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