From bol.com to B Corp

How we supported bol.com to become a certified B Corporation

Bol.com, one of the largest online retail platforms in the Netherlands and Belgium, just became a certified B Corp. It has been a pleasure for our team to support bol.com on their sustainability journey over the last two years.

We are proud of the progress being made, affirming that bol.com is on its way to becoming a force for good. The certification also legally embeds bol.com’s commitment to high social and environmental standards through the legal requirement, an amendment to the statutes. But, most importantly, B Corp certification offers not their end goal, but a starting point. Sustainability remains a continuous journey, with B Corp being a great milestone.

Below, we share a few of our key insights, challenges and highlights from bol.com’s journey so far.

Getting the basics right: least possible impact from organization and supply chain

Bol.com wants to lead in making the e-commerce industry more sustainable. So, they’ve gotten their basics in order. Firstly, bol.com has reduced the organization’s impact by powering their facilities almost completely with renewable energy, by setting science-based reduction targets, and by obtaining the Climate Neutral Certification label. Secondly, bol.com has taken responsibility for their supply chain: by using efficient multi-packing machines and recycled filling materials, by calculating and offsetting the operational emissions of their 52.000 sales partners, and by cooperating intensively with bicycle courier Cycloon, amongst others. This way, bol.com aspires to reduce the negative impact of the organization and the logistical chain as much as possible.

From ‘do no harm’ towards ‘doing good’

But bol.com wants to go further. By making the bol.com platform become a force for good.

In 2021, we began supporting bol.com’s B Corp journey, starting with completing the B Corp assessment for bol.com. We dived deep into their operations, conducted internal interviews, and analyzed lots of data to complete more than 300 questions on their sustainability performance. This helped us to identify bol.com’s key strengths and opportunities for improvement. Over the next year, we created and implemented an action plan to work on the identified gaps.

Together with internal working groups, key improvements were made. Think of increasing local procurement, measuring and improving diversity and inclusion, and expanding internal training at bol.com.

Verifying impact: is bol.com walking the talk?

A final and key step of the B Corp journey is verification. Do you have the proof to substantiate what you’re saying? In 2023, we worked closely with bol.com and B Lab on this process. By collecting all supporting documentation and proof points, connecting B Lab to the right bol.com stakeholders, and a final essential part: organizing a site visit and employee interviews. Through the visit and interviews, B Lab’s verification analysts had the opportunity to inspect bol.com’s practices with their own eyes.

 

 

The ripple effect: 52.000 sales partners for positive change

B Corp certification does not reflect only the impact of bol.com, but also that of the many stakeholders that bol.com depends on. Bol.com’s 52.000 sales partners selling products via the bol.com platform and logistical partners are key in achieving bol.com’s sustainable e-commerce goal. Bol.com already undertakes industry initiatives to leverage partnerships, such as the B Corp shop and offering a sustainability knowledge partner platform for sellers: the sustainability ecosystem. This network includes various pre-selected sustainability agencies, including The Terrace, that offer their sustainability support services to bol.com’s sales partners. As a certified B Corp, bol.com is set to drive positive change with and within the B Corp movement too.

Read more about why we believe that large enterprises AND small purpose-driven companies have their role to play in the B Corp movement here

Read more about our work with the sustainability ecosystem for product selling partners of bol.com here

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