New Internationalist

Ethical and environmental policies


Founded in 1972, New Internationalist Publications Limited (NIP) is an equal-pay workers’ co-operative based in Oxford, England, and also responsible for the office in Canada. It is wholly owned by the New Internationalist Trust which was established in 1992 to act as the holding company. Since the Trust was created, New Internationalist has received no external funding and all profits earned have been retained by NIP. The trust charter asserts the independence of New Internationalist and specifies that we cannot be affiliated to any formal religious or political group. There is also an Australian branch (New Internationalist Publications Pty Ltd) which is run as a not-for-profit company; it is recognized by the Australian Taxation Office as a not-for-profit community service organization and is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. There is also a New Zealand branch (New Internationalist Ltd) which is a company with charitable status.


1. General

The large majority of purchasing decisions are for goods for re-sale to customers. Items selected are those which:

a) Are produced and delivered under conditions that do not involve the abuse or exploitation of any persons.
b) Have the least negative impact on the environment.

In addition New Internationalist aims to buy and sell products which provide an ethical alternative. Examples are:

  • Products made from recycled materials.
  • Products made without the use of pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Products sourced through Fair Trade initiatives, ensuring that a fair price is paid to everyone in the supply chain.
  • Products which use non-polluting forms of energy.

These products are clearly marked in catalogues and other promotional devices.

2. Fair Trade

a) As a general principle New Internationalist will not purchase products manufactured in the Majority World unless they are being traded fairly. All suppliers are required to provide details of the conditions in which their products are manufactured. In the majority of cases the supplier will have been vetted by someone known to New Internationalist. Most other suppliers will either be a member of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) or a designated supplier to BAFTS (British Association for Fair Trade Shops).

b) The supplier details for every product sold are listed on the New Internationalist shopping site. Comments on the suitability of these organizations to be termed Fair Trade suppliers will be welcomed and New Internationalist will report any queries received to WFTO and/or BAFTS.

c) An exception to the general rule is that New Internationalist is prepared to buy products made in good factory conditions. Such products will be purchased because they represent other New Internationalist interests. Examples are wind-up and solar-powered products, clothing made from bamboo and hemp, and high-quality colour printing.


a) Advertising will not be accepted if it is contrary to the general editorial policy or is offensive (e.g tobacco and alcohol). This includes all organizations which are being boycotted by groups that New Internationalist supports.

b) Advertising from political parties and government institutions will be reviewed on an individual basis.

c) Fundraising advertising is accepted provided it does not portray people as helpless and inadequate or concentrate on the sponsorship of individuals rather than communities.

d) Advertising will be accepted from organizations which are performing a useful social function or are offering goods considered inoffensive. This includes most organizations where earning profits is not the main objective.

e) Profit-seeking organizations may advertise when their products/services are performing a socially useful function. Those permitted are:

  • Those which are educational, cultural, or which increase awareness of environmental and social justice issues. (For example: Products and services linked to the media, travel and hobbies.)
  • Those which offer an ethical alternative to other products and services. (For example: Bicycles and alternatives forms of transport, recycled products, healthy foods, ethical financial services, fairly traded products.)
  • Recruitment advertising.



New Internationalist recognizes that its operations have an effect on the local, regional and global environment. We aim to reduce our environmental impact and to operate in a responsible manner. We are committed to continuous improvements in environmental performance and the prevention of pollution using regulations, laws and codes of practice which are regarded as setting the minimum standards of environmental performance. As part of our continuing drive for improvement we have set targets by which our efforts towards sustainable environmental improvement can be measured and monitored on a regular basis. We also recognize that many of the initiatives we have put in place make business sense and are cost-effective.


New Internationalist recognizes that as a publisher we use a large quantity of paper. We aim to reduce the environmental impact by both reducing the volume of paper used and by printing on post-consumer recycled paper wherever possible. The New Internationalist magazine is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and with other publications requiring higher quality reproduction we use a mixture of post-consumer recycled pulp and virgin pulp from sustainable forests. We only use printing companies with an environmental management system certified to the internationally recognized ISO14001 standard. We aim to reduce the volume of paper used in marketing by switching from the distribution of catalogues, direct mail and leaflets to making direct contact with potential customers through face-to-face contact, the telephone and various forms of electronic marketing. We will increasingly offer customers the opportunity to read NI materials in electronic formats rather than paper.

Energy Use

Our electricity supply uses only renewable sources and we aim to reduce energy consumption by agreeing and implementing various energy-saving practices.

Paper and Stationery

Waste paper collection boxes are available throughout the building and the waste paper and cardboard is collected every week. We aim to reduce paper consumption by agreeing and implementing various paper-saving practices. 100% recycled paper and envelopes are used throughout the offices and New Internationalist is committed to using recycled office consumables wherever available e.g. files, pens, notepads.


Staff are encouraged to reduce water consumption by agreeing and implementing various water-saving practices. All toilets are fitted with a system to reduce water needed for flushing. Drinking water comes from a plumbed-in system which filters out impurities via a recyclable filter cartridge; this avoids the need for refill bottles and cuts down on transport. A water butt has been installed for collecting rainwater for watering outdoor and indoor plants

Organic Waste

In Oxford New Internationalist has built raised beds and developed the garden area; the waste generated is composted and the resulting material is re-applied to the garden area. Any organic waste, e.g. fruit, vegetables, tea bags and coffee grounds, are collected in a designated lidded bin in the kitchen area and the contents then added to the outdoor compost bin.

Cleaning consumables

All products used to clean the offices are biodegradable, contain no petrochemical-based ingredients and have not been tested on animals. All paper products are 100% recycled. Sanitary waste is collected and treated with biodegradable germicidal products.


New Internationalist is continually working towards reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants caused by road and air travel. However, we have contributors all over the world and often need to meet with those affected by the issues we cover. We aim to use communication technology effectively so that we do not always have to travel to make these contacts, but acknowledge that there will be occasions when overseas visits are essential.

  • The UK Co-op has agreed to use alternatives to air travel whenever possible and has set a target of keeping the number of flights taken in any year to a maximum of 6 return journeys. We acknowledge that higher costs may be incurred by avoiding air travel and have set the following guidelines:
    • Air travel will only be undertaken after considering all other options.
    • No internal UK flights will be taken.
    • If travel time overland exceeds 7 hours, or the presence of a Co-op member is required at short notice e.g. passing on press, then air travel may be considered.
    • Staff are supported in using alternatives to air travel by being encouraged to allow extra time for their journey, by being provided with technology that enables them to work while travelling and being given time off in lieu for out of hours work.
  • The use of taxis and private cars is discouraged unless there are health and safety issues or other legitimate reasons why an alternative mode of transport could not be used. New Internationalist has joined a car club which has a car parked at the office in Oxford. New Internationalist provides a Network Rail discount card, an Oyster card and multi-trip coach travel card for use by Co-op members.
  • Loans are available for purchasing bicycles and cycling accessories. A bicycle is kept in good repair and is available for use by visitors and Co-op members.
  • Electronic transfer of documents is used whenever possible. If this is not possible then items are either sent via Royal Mail or by courier. These trips are kept to a minimum and, where possible, items are combined and collected on one “run”.


1. Equal Opportunities

New Internationalist is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and is working towards this goal. In practice this means no discrimination against people on the grounds, for example, of race, gender, marriage, sexual orientation, transgender, age, disability, employment and housing status. This means not just that employment is open equally to all, but also that the Co-operative recognizes the need positively to encourage people discriminated against to apply. It also means that positive action will be taken when recruiting to correct serious imbalances within the group. The Co-operative acknowledges the necessity of providing a supportive working environment for people discriminated against in society.

2. Health and Safety

The Co-operative is committed to health and safety in the work place, ensuring that at all times the work environment is clean, tidy and safe. All equipment and electrics are regularly maintained and all computer equipment regularly inspected and updated when required. Annual free eyesight tests are available and spectacles will be paid for if required for work. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the building. In compliance with the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulation 1981 the UK Co-op provides adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and training. Fire risk assessments are carried out at the Oxford office under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997. Fire Safety Equipment training is provided for staff and all fire safety equipment is regularly maintained and updated.

3. Other

  • Members of the UK Co-operative and permanent staff (only those working 80% or above are eligible to join the Co-operative) receive equal pay.
  • A Group Pension Scheme was established in 1987. NI contributes to the pension funds of all employees provided that, as a general principle, the funds are held in an ethical fund. A stakeholder pension scheme is available to all staff who are not eligible to join the Group Pension Scheme.
  • Permanent Health Insurance ensures that all those who are sick for more than 3 months can continue to receive a salary.
  • There is a flexible working policy so that individuals can combine their work and home lives in an acceptable way.
  • There is an internship programme and interns are employed at a salary above the minimum wage.


• The Magazine subscription price is not increased each year; an increase is only made when the overall financial situation requires it.

• If unhappy with the magazine a new subscriber may cancel and receive a full refund.

• Customers at the NI shop may return anything they buy within 14 days for a full refund.

• The only customer information collected is that which is necessary. This information is held and from time to time we contact previous customers unless the customer indicates that they do not want this.

• New Internationalist staff regularly provide advice and other assistance to small co-operatives, other publishers and similar organizations.