Community spirit

Everyone at Walker is committed to making the world a better place, not just through the books we publish but also in the way we work. You can read here about our green initiatives and our commitment to improving life in our local community.

A strong sense of ethics is intrinsic to most great children’s books, so to us, taking our responsibilities seriously seems obvious: more than that, it is central to everything we do. As a publisher of over 300 books a year in the UK alone – never mind our sister companies Walker Australia and Candlewick in the USA – we’re particularly aware of our impact on the environment and have always done everything we can to ensure that impact is a positive, not a negative one. Here are some of the ways in which we are working.


Our books and products
As a producer of children's books, we aim to work with suppliers who recognise a social accountability standard, and we are working on a number of projects to make that dream a reality.

In September 2006, Walker joined other leading UK publishers to set up the Publishers' Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing (PREPS), with the aim of ensuring that we all use legally harvested and sustainable forest sources. PREPS holds technical specifications and details of the pulps and forest sources for each of the papers used by its members.   Based on that information, papers are awarded a grade of between one and five stars using the Egmont Grading System, which evaluates whether material has been legally harvested – or recycled – and how the forest sources have been managed. It encompasses FSC and PEFC certification. Further information about PREPS can be found at

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organisation founded in 1990 to promote and recognise good and sustainable forestry practices around the world. At Walker, we insist that all our suppliers hold the FSC Chain of Custody, which ensures that the paper and board used in our books are natural recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing process must also conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. For more information, visit
Walker also belongs to Prelims, an umbrella organisation for companies in the international book trade who want to make sure that what they sell is produced to the highest ethical standards. We are all working together through Prelims to promote and implement a common, internationally recognised social accountability standard, which both we and our suppliers must adhere to. For further information please visit

The standard we are adopting derives from that used by the global toy industry and managed by its industry body, the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI). Called the CARE Process, the standard covers areas such as working conditions, health and safety, remuneration, working hours, and the prohibition of the use of child or forced labour. For more information about social accountability and for details about CARE, please visit
Product testing
We want to ensure our books are fun and safe and all of our products with play value are tested to relevant legislation EN71 (Europe).

Our work with charities and the local community

Caring for children is at the heart of what we do, and Walker has a long history of supporting children’s charities. Those we supported last year included:

Kids Company which provides emotional, practical and educational support for profoundly vulnerable young people and is based locally in Waterloo.

Richard House Hospice which is London’s first children’s hospice to be located in Docklands. It offers respite and end-of-life care for terminally ill children.

Walker also supports a give-as-you-earn scheme, which encourages and allows our staff to make charitable donations directly from their salary, through the payroll. We regularly donate books to charities such as
Book Aid, Vauxhall Primary School – our local school. One recent large donation was of 15,000 books donated to UK Flood Relief, which is helping restock schools and libraries decimated by the floods of 2007.

Walker in the community

As anyone who has worked with children knows, often the most precious thing you can give them is your own time. So as well as donating books to our local primary school here in Vauxhall, lots of us have been volunteering to help with the school’s reading scheme since it was established in 1998.

The scheme was set up to help children who, for various reasons, need a little extra time devoted to reading. Right now we have nearly twenty volunteers reading to twelve children. Volunteer Nic Knight takes up the story: ‘There's nothing more satisfying than listening to Jade reading something that she couldn't manage before. Reading with these children has made a real difference to the targets that they are achieving in the classroom. But being a reading volunteer is more than just listening to the children read, it's a chance to talk about words, pictures and our favourite books. And it's great fun too!’

Raising funds together
Walker’s social committee run and take part in several charity fund-raisers every year, alongside all its other activities. Recent events such as raffles, bring-and-buy sales and sponsored walks have raised significant amounts for
Comic Relief, the Book Trade Benevolent Society and Breast Cancer Research.

The committee is also happy to help out with individual initiatives from people at Walker, such as sponsoring Stephanie Fretwell in our Foreign Rights team when she ran the London Marathon on behalf of
Redress, a human rights organisation that helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation. (We support Redress in other ways, too, such as sharing our offices with them!)

Our working environment
We’re not just talk at Walker: a responsible approach to the environment is built into our decision-making. Every division at Walker has a representative on our ethical committee, which meets regularly to develop and review our processes – and to suggest more environmentally friendly ways of doing things. It’s the Walker way of making sure that we are always up to date, and always striving to improve what we do.

Plus, every floor of the building has a ‘Green Champion’ who looks after things on a day-to-day basis. Publisher Caroline Royds explains: ‘I’m so pleased that we are making changes to the ways in which we work and it’s been fantastic that the staff have contributed lots of good ideas. You spend so much of your life in the office and it’s important to do the things you do at home, such as recycling, at work too.’

Our committee’s achievements to date include:

Recycling: We all separate our waste for recycling. To make it easier, we make sure every desk has a recycle bin and each department a separate bin for organic waste.
Staff cafe: We use Fairtrade tea, coffee, fruit and free-range chicken and eggs. Our napkins are also environmentally friendly.
Energy efficiency: We encourage everyone to be energy-conscious, to switch off unwanted lights and turn off computers when not in use, whether during the day or when leaving work.
Drinking water: We filter our drinking water from the mains rather than using bottled water, and we try to use glasses instead of plastic cups.
Photocopier paper: Our paper is supplied from sustainable sources and returns to the recycling process as waste. The aim is for everyone to print only when necessary and to print on both sides of the paper.
Video conferencing: We have in-house video conferencing facilities to help reduce ‘meeting miles’.
Cleaning products: We use eco-friendly cleaning products which degrade quicker. Even our hand soap is Fairtrade – and our toilet rolls are recycled!