The 15% Pledge campaign was started by Aurora James © ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images
The 15% Pledge campaign was started by Aurora James © ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

Sephora commits 15% of shelf space to black-owned suppliers

17 June 2020

Beauty retailer Sephora has pledged to dedicate 15% of its shelf space to products produced by black-owned suppliers.

The move comes in response to a campaign launched by designer Aurora James, founder of a luxury accessories brand, who asked major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned brands. The 15% figure refers to the 15% of the US population estimated to be black.

Sephora was the first major brand to respond to James’ campaign and said: “We are committed to doing this the right way and ensuring that we successfully meet and exceed this pledge, keeping in mind long-term sustainable progress.

“As we shared on social, beyond the steps we have outlined we have more work to do before we can set a date for when we aim to meet this goal. However, the work has already started.”

It said it was currently assessing and verifying which brands across its portfolio were black-owned or founded but said it already had at least 36 brands owned by people of colour, including nine black-owned brands.

The retailer added: “This is only the start – we know with over 290 brands we can and will be doing more.  And we encourage other businesses to commit to the 15% Pledge.”

James said on Instagram, addressing major retailers: “So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds.

“This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.”

She asked major retailers including Target, Whole Foods, and Barnes & Noble to take the pledge because of their economic influence.

The 15 Percent Pledge said the retailers should start “interrogating how existing blind spots and biases within your company and society at large have led to the disparities—and what concrete steps you can take to address them”.

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