Canada’s biggest bookstore is the first in the country to commit 15% of its book and lifestyle assortment to BIPOC businesses and authors
TORONTO – As the 15 Percent Pledge, a non-profit advocacy organization based in the United States with a branch in Canada, continues its mission to advocate for and support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC)-owned businesses and BIPOC people in the workforce, today we announce that Indigo Books & Music Inc. is the first major Canadian retailer to commit to the Pledge. As part of its commitment, the national bookseller and cultural department store, which also has one location in the United States, has pledged to increase its representation of books written by BIPOC authors and BIPOC owned third-party brands for its lifestyle business to a benchmark of 15 percent.
“As a native Canadian, I knew after launching the 15 Percent Pledge in the United States, we would also need to focus our efforts for increased representation and financial equality for BIPOC-owned businesses in Canada,” said Aurora James, founder of the 15 Percent Pledge. “We could not be happier that Indigo has stepped up and become Canada’s first major retailer to pledge its commitment. We commend Indigo for their early leadership and look forward to working with them on their accountability and commitment as we join together in the mission to support the BIPOC community.”
As a business owner, James saw the extent that BIPOC businesses are suffering during the ongoing pandemic in Canada. The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt BIPOC Canadians and has underscored the need to restart the country’s economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed, according to a recent announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. James founded the 15 Percent Pledge to introduce a new standard by which major institutions, including major retailers, can actively take part in combating systemic racism. With unparalleled influence and power as Canada’s largest bookstore, Indigo has the ability to make real change in how BIPOC authors and the community are represented on their shelves by taking the Pledge.
“We are pleased to be joining the 15 Percent Pledge,” says Heather Reisman, CEO and Chief Booklover at Indigo. “We are looking forward to further growing the number of brands and authors that we support through our platform and continue to look for opportunities to ensure that all Canadians see themselves in Indigo.”
In making the commitment to the Pledge, Indigo will dedicate 15% of its shelf space to books written by BIPOC authors, and BIPOC-owned third-party brands for its lifestyle business.
In the United States, those who have committed to the 15 Percent Pledge include Sephora, Rent the Runway, MedMen, West, Elm, Yelp, and Vogue US. To support the Pledge, please visit http://www.15percentpledge.ca. Individuals can also text “PLEDGE” to +011 1 917 540 8418 for updates and information on BIPOC-owned businesses. Please also like, share, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @15percentpledge.
For more information on the 15 Percent Pledge, please contact [email protected].
About the 15 Percent Pledge Canada
The 15 Percent Pledge Canada is a non-profit advocacy organization, based in the United States, urging major retailers to commit 15% of their shelf-space to BIPOC-owned businesses in Canada. It offers large corporations accountability, support and consulting services with the goal of advocating for and supporting BIPOC-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge Canada seeks economic equality and prosperity for BIPOC future founders, BIPOC students, and BIPOC people in the workforce. Launched in June 2020 by Aurora James, the initiative was born from seeing multiple acts of social injustice and police brutality in the United States, with a lack of accountability for the systemic issues at play. Businesses including Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm, Medmen, Yelp, Vogue US, and now Indigo, have all committed to the 15 Percent Pledge. For more information, visit www.15percentpledge.ca
Indigo Books & Music Inc. is a publicly traded Canadian company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (IDG). Indigo is the world’s first Cultural Department Store – a physical and digital meeting place inspired by and filled with books, music, art, ideas, and beautifully designed lifestyle products. Indigo believes in real books, in living life fully and generously, in being kind to each other and that stories – big and little – connect us. For more information please visit indigo.ca