Indigo Books & Music Inc. is officially the first major Canadian company to take the 15 Percent Pledge, dedicating 15 percent of its shelf space to books written by BIPOC authors and stocking BIPOC-owned third-party brands in its lifestyle department.
“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 and creator of Brother Vellies, in a press release. “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.”
“We are pleased to be joining the 15 Percent Pledge,” said Indigo CEO Heather Reisman in a statement. “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.”
According to Indigo’s Instagram, the retailer is aiming to have 15 percent of books on display written by BIPOC authors by the end of 2021, while aiming for 15 percent of lifestyle content by BIPOC brands in the next two to five years.
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We proudly join the @15percentpledge, an initiative advocating for economic equity by urging major retailers to allocate 15% of their shelf space to BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) businesses. We know that we have a responsibility to ensure our book and product assortment and marketing is representative of the population we serve. We also pledge to look for more opportunities to highlight equity-seeking creators and authors, such as people with diverse abilities and members of the LGBTQ2+ communities, to reflect Canada’s rich diversity. For more on our commitment to the 15% Pledge, as well as additional diversity, inclusion, and equality initiatives, visit the link in our bio. indigo.ca/diversity-and-inclusion Artwork by Toronto based artist @racheljoanis #15PercentPledge #BlackOwnedBusiness #BIPOCAuthors #IndigenousAuthors #IndigenousBusiness
American retailers who have already taken the pledge since the initiative’s June inception include Sephora, West Elm and Yelp.
“As an avid childhood reader myself, I am over the moon to know that young BIPOC girls will now be able to wander into their favorite bookstores and see themselves represented on the shelves in a truly robust way,” James wrote on Instagram. “Publishing more Black authors will also begin the process of allowing the Black and BIPOC experience to truly be archived and properly written into history. This is about so much more than shelf space.”
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Our first Canadian retailer @Indigo (the nation’s largest bookstore 📚) has committed to taking the @15Percentpledge. With a dedication to hitting 15% with their authors and products, this bold move by CEO Heather Reisman will change not only the landscape of the Canadian Retail Industry but the entire North American publishing industry. When we commit to elevating Black voices we commit to elevating Black communities. As an avid childhood reader myself, I am over the moon to know that young BIPOC girls will now be able to wander into their favorite bookstores and see themselves represented on the shelves in a truly robust way. Publishing more Black authors will also begin the process of allowing the Black and BIPOC experience to truly be archived and properly written into history. This is about so much more than shelf space. Indigo, I applaud you. Thank you for your commitment to diversify the chorus of voices on the World’s bookshelves. 💌
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