Hudson’s Bay Becomes First Canadian Department Store to Join 15 Percent Pledge

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Hudson’s Bay has become the first Canadian department store to commit to the 15 Percent Pledge.

Today, the chain, which operates 88 locations in the North American country, announced that it has joined the nonprofit’s mission to allocate 15% of its shelf space to Black-owned businesses. With the pledge, at least 15% of all new brands purchased by Hudson’s Bay for its stores and TheBay.com site will be owned or designed by Black or Indigenous people or people of color, starting with the fall ’21 season.

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What’s more, the company plans to review its internal workforce to ensure that, by 2022, 15% or more of its design talent for owned brands represent the Black or Indigenous communities or are people of color.

“As one of the country’s leading corporate citizens, Hudson’s Bay has a responsibility to drive equity and inclusion in Canada,” president and CEO Iain Nairn said in a statement. “Our commitment through the 15 Percent Pledge is part of a holistic change to how we do business and will hold us accountable to providing opportunity and delivering products that are representative of the diversity of our customers, associates and communities.”

The 15 Percent Pledge — built around the statistic that Black people comprise 15% of the population of the United States — was founded by Brother Vellies designer and 2020 FN Person of the Year Aurora James. It launched last summer amid civil unrest that erupted across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Rent the Runway, Sephora and Vogue were among the first to make the commitment, followed by Macy’s Inc., Gap Inc., J.Crew Group Inc., Kith and more major American businesses. With Hudson’s Bay’s signing, the 15 Percent Pledge is now publicly backed by at least 22 companies.

“As a Black business owner and proud Canadian, it’s encouraging to see this iconic brand take a pivotal step toward driving equity across retail,” James said. “This is the first time Hudson’s Bay has made a commitment like this in its 350-year history, and we hope their dedication and leadership encourages other international retailers to support brands that are representative of their diverse populations.”

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