Diversity and Inclusion

Earlier this year, we pledged to increase our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, and to use our platform and voices to create long-lasting, meaningful change. We want to provide an update on the work we’ve been doing to become a more inclusive company and workplace for our customers and our employees.

Starting From Within

Real systemic change in the workplace comes from looking inward first, and we know that we must create a workplace that is a truly inclusive and safe space for all of our colleagues. We have been listening to our customers and employees and learning from experts to advance the work ahead.

CCDI Partnership

In March 2020, we kicked off a partnership with Canada’s leading diversity and inclusion organization, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI). This is a long-term partnership to help us implement our plan to incorporate diversity, equality, and inclusion within Indigo.

With CCDI, we are taking immediate steps to address systemic issues, specifically as they relate to race and inequality. Several initiatives are in progress, including building a sustainable Diversity and Inclusion Road Map, conducting a Diversity Census and Inclusion survey, and offering education and training to our employees.

Employee Resources

Over the past few months, we have held a series of employee townhalls to listen to our employees and to identify specific areas to address, both immediately and in the long-term.

With these sessions guiding our work, we are in the process of creating an enterprise-wide Diversity Council to drive our integrated diversity strategy, to monitor our progress and hold us accountable. In addition, we will set up Employee Resource Groups to provide employees with a formal structure within the organization to support their unique needs.

We are driving awareness and inclusion around pronoun use across the organization, including the use of optional name tags for our retail teams.

We are recruiting a Diversity and Inclusion Manager whose sole focus will be to lead the diversity and inclusion work within the organization.

Employee Training

We are investing in additional Diversity and Inclusion learning and development for our entire team across our retail stores, head office, and distribution centres. Our leaders have completed Foundational Leader Education, and our employees will be participating in a series of Unconscious Bias training and Anti-Racism workshops led by CCDI, with the goal being that employees and customers alike feel safe and welcome within our stores and workplace.

Human Resources and Company Culture

We are committed to ensuring that our culture is one where every employee feels they can bring their full, authentic self to work; that our workforce is representative of where we do business, including at leadership levels; and that leaders include, empower, and inspire their teams.

Our human resources team is working to embed diversity awareness and inclusive practices into our work culture, ensuring consciously inclusive talent practices, including hiring, talent development, and measuring our progress.

Amplifying Voices + Representation

We know that we have a responsibility to ensure our product assortment and marketing is representative of the population we serve.

Our Assortment and Products: the 15% Pledge

Based on our commitments to broader representation, we are proud to join the 15% Pledge. The 15% Pledge advocates for economic equity by urging major retailers to allocate 15% of their shelf space to BIPOC-owned businesses. For more information, visit 15percentpledge.ca.

As part of the pledge, we commit to take stock of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) authors, businesses and suppliers we support; take ownership of our findings; and take action to define and publish a plan for growing the share of Black, Indigenous and POC authors and businesses we support to at least 15% over the next several years.

As such, we are making the following commitments:

  • By the end of 2021, we aim to have at least 15% of the books on display and new to our assortment written by BIPOC authors.
  • In the next 2-5 years, we aim to have at least 15% of our lifestyle assortment from businesses owned by Black and Indigenous people, and People of Colour.
  • In the next 2-5 years, we aim to have at least 23% of the books on display and in our assortment written by BIPOC authors.
  • We will regularly reassess our assortment to ensure it represents the diversity of Canada.

This is not the end, but the beginning. We will continue to look for more opportunities to highlight other equity-seeking creators and authors, such as people with diverse abilities and members of the LGBTQ2+ communities, with the goal of ensuring our product line represents all Canadians.

Representation in Creative and Marketing

We want to ensure that all Canadians can see themselves in Indigo. To do that, we know that our campaigns and marketing initiatives must mirror the spectrum of diverse voices and identities in Canada.

With a firm commitment to representation, at least 25% of our campaigns will feature BIPOC models and at least 20% of our social content will feature BIPOC brands and books.

We are taking an intentional approach to representation, one that promotes equality, respect, and understanding. We are committed to highlighting diverse representation across race, age, identity, and gender expression.

We are committed to amplifying diverse voices in the events we host, and using our platform to help educate with books, content, events, and resources.

Investing in the Future

We believe in the power of education to help create change.

For over 15 years, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has worked to enhance opportunities for students experiencing marginalization. Through our programs, we provide schools with the chance to diversify the books in their libraries, enrich their curriculum, and put new books into the hands of children who may not otherwise have access. To date, the foundation has committed $32 million, benefitting over one million students.

Most recently, Indigo donated $100,000 to the Black Youth Helpline, with proceeds from our Antiracist Reading List. The helpline’s mission is to prevent social and psychological breakdown in communities by focusing on education, health, and community development.

We are dedicated to continuing this commitment to promoting equity within the Canadian education system.

Measuring Our Progress

This is just the beginning, and we know there is more to do. We are committed to sharing our progress on this journey and will share major milestones and updates on indigo.ca