Nat Geo Kids’ Journey to Sustainability

Nat Geo Kids’ Journey to Sustainability

At Nat Geo Kids UK, we’re passionate about our natural world.
Something we know our readers (that’s you!) care deeply about, too!
That’s why, back in 2018, we decided to get serious about doing
more to care for it, by looking at the ways we operate as a business.
We’ve done heaps of awesome stuff since then to clean up our act and make
Nat Geo Kids MUCH better for the environment! Check out some of our highlights
and discover the world events that inspired us to keep going…


Every issue of National
Geographic Kids came
wrapped in a non-recyclable
plastic bag
, with a plastic
inside. Yuck!

The magazine was printed in
Poland while the toys were
made in China, and all that
international transport made
our wonderful magazine a
big source of greenhouse
gas emissions
. Double yuck!



Operation Plastic-Free begins!

We remove plastic bags from magazines sold in stores and package our gifts in paper envelopes which are stuck to the cover with plastic tape. Take that, plastic!

Unsold magazines wrapped
in plastic are harder to
and more likely to
end up in landfill than other
unsold magazines.


Swedish teenager and activist
Greta Thunberg launches
Fridays For Future, youth-led
school strikes calling for
climate action. Millions of
young people
across the
world take part!


Paper gifts are introduced

For the first time, we switch
the magazine’s plastic gifts
for recyclable paper gifts
made in China. They’re a
success, so we start swapping
more and more…



Plastic toy ban

Primary schoolgirls Ella and
Caitlin McEwan
start a
petition asking fast food
restaurants like Burger King
and McDonalds to stop
giving away plastic toys

with kids’ meals.

Half a million people sign
their petition and by the end
of the year, both chains swap
to more sustainable toys.


Bye-bye plastic post!

We stop packaging our
subscription issues in plastic
bags and swap to recycled
paper envelopes

By switching to paper
envelopes, we stopped over
4 million plastic bags being
created between Autumn
2019 and Spring 2022!

Printing moves to the UK

Instead of printing the
magazine in Poland, we
start using a UK-based
, saving every issue
a 1000-mile lorry journey
across Europe!

This prevents almost 21
metric tonnes of carbon
(a climate-change-
causing greenhouse gas)
emissions per year –
equivalent to removing
around 46 cars from the road!



COVID-19 arrives

As the first COVID-19
lockdown begins in the UK,
schools close and the Nat
Geo Kids team start to work
from home.

Free digital magazine!

In response to the worsening
pandemic, we make our
digital issue FREE during
the school closures
to help
parents support kids
learning at home.



Magazines for the NHS

We start donating 1,000
free magazines
to the NHS
every month, to support
kids in hospitals
the UK.


Return, reuse, recycle!

We cut down on waste by
returning unsold magazines to
the finishers for a quality
. The best mags are
re-sold in double issue packs
or donated to schools and
charities; others are recycled.

From Autumn 2020 to
Spring 2022, over 280,000
unsold Nat Geo Kids mags

were given a second life as
part of a double issue pack.


Local paper gifts

We start sourcing paper gifts in the
, rather than shipping them over
from China – saving tons of
greenhouse gas emissions from
all that transport. The new gift
printers are a B Corp company with
a great reputation for protecting
the environment
– fantastic!

Certified ‘B Corp’ companies
have high standards for how
they impact the environment
and treat their employees.
They are open and honest
about everything they do, so
anyone can see what’s going
and what still needs



100% paper-based

We commit to making our
gifts 100% paper-based,
with the occasional exception
of free seeds and stickers!

By switching to paper gifts
and packaging, we’ve
removed over 700,000
pieces of plastic per year

from Nat Geo Kids magazines!


Recycled paper!

We start printing the
magazine on recycled paper
rather than certified
sustainable paper. That
means NO trees are cut
to make it – yay!

Envelopes in stores

We remove the plastic tape used to keep gifts secure on in-store copies and put everything inside a paper envelope instead. Stylish, safe and more eco-friendly!

Using envelopes saves over
100km of tape per year –
enough to stretch between Nat
Geo Kids HQ in London and
Portsmouth on the south coast!


Mission B Corp

We start the journey towards
becoming a B Corp, working
with our suppliers and staff to
become a better business for
people and the environment.

We look closely at everything from
how much electricity we use, to
how much we pay our employees,
to who we work with – all while
producing a fantastic magazine
for you to read!

100% plastic-free!

We remove the magazine’s
recyclable plastic-coated
and replace it with a
recycled paper one. This
means the magazine is now
100% plastic-free – hooray!


Paying fairly

We become an Accredited
Living Wage Employer
promising to pay people more
than the minimum amount
set by the government. This
ensures our staff don’t have
to worry about
enough money for everyday
things like food shops,
and toiletries.

In 2021, only 9,000 UK
were Accredited
Living Wage Employers.

Better business

Creature and Co. (the company
which publishes Nat Geo Kids UK)
declares support for the Better
Business Act
, which asks the
government to make every single
company treat caring for their
environment, employees and
community as equally important
to making money.



Tracking emissions

We start tracking Nat Geo
Kids HQ emissions
recording how much energy
we use at our London office
and while working from home.
This helps us understand our
carbon footprint and plan
how to reduce it.

From July 2022, we will start
reducing our emissions,
helping the world keep
global warming to no more
than 1.5°C


COP26 takes place

At the international climate
change event
, world leaders
agree to reduce greenhouse gas
, stop deforestation
and work together to prevent
global warming.



Volunteer days

We start giving each of our
employees two volunteer
days per year
, allowing them
to work on cool projects in their
community and still get paid.

Some start volunteering with
children’s charities, while
others plan to help homeless
and work with local
environmental groups


Nat Geo Kids magazines are all
printed in the UK on FSC-
certified recycled paper and
distributed in paper envelopes.

Overall, we’ve managed to
make the magazine
100% plastic-free. Yay!

There are no plastic gifts, we
work with UK-based
and, with the
exception of occasional seed
packets, all our gifts are
made in the UK too.


We’re really proud of our achievements so far,
but next comes the REALLY hard stuff…

the future

Emission Mission

We want to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions

at every stage of the
production process by
working with the companies
that print, supply, distribute,
and recycle our magazine.

We’re aiming to reduce our emissions
in line with a global agreement
made at COP21 in 2015, which aims
to cut emissions to zero by 2050. But
we’re trying to be even more
ambitious – so watch this space!

Do Better

We’ll continue to be guided
by the UN Sustainable
Development Goals
, doing
things that have a long-term
benefitting people or
the planet – both, wherever
possible! Plus, we’ll keep
teaching YOU about these
goals and share all the ways
you can get involved.

Share Success

In addition to paying our staff
a fair salary and contributing
to community projects
, we
want to keep helping
disadvantaged kids
by giving
away free copies and
contributing to programmes
that give extra help to
children learning to read.

All data correct in Spring 2022.