Embarking on a Journey of Continuous Impact Improvement

A conversation with bol.com about joining the B Corp movement and committing to go beyond business as usual

B Lab Europe
4 min readJul 18, 2023
More than a certification, B Corp is a journey of continuous improvement and a movement that brings like-minded businesses together.

After embarking on a journey spanning over two years, bol.com has successfully obtained B Corp™ Certification, with an aggregate B Impact score of 81.2 points. With that, the company is joining a community of over 2,600 B Corps in Europe that are leading a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Welcome to the B Corp community!

Acknowledging that bol.com, like all B Corps, isn’t a perfect company, the company is committed to continuously improving its social and environmental performance and measuring the impact of its actions on all stakeholders.

We had the opportunity to interview Boukje Taphoorn, Chief Sustainability Officer at bol.com, to gain insights into their B Corp journey!

Boukje Taphoorn, Chief Sustainability Officer at bol.com

“So far, B Corp certification has already yielded many new initiatives, important conversations, and challenging choices.”

Congratulations on your company’s B Corp certification! Can you share some of the key reasons why bol.com pursued B Corp certification?
Thank you! The will to improve is in our nature, we pioneered already in 1999 by opening Europe’s first online bookstore. We believe that the world of e-commerce can be more sustainable and B Corp certification is a hugely important step for us to continue to measure our results and improve our social and environmental performance.

Can you provide some examples of the key practices and policies bol.com has implemented as part of its commitment to being a B Corp?
B Corp is not a passive label that you obtain and after which you are done. On the contrary, it is an active commitment, with sufficient points as a starting point and thus certification. There is no time and space to sit back and relax, so we will and must try harder in all subjects. For us, the certification is a commitment to the future, to do better every day. And we are already on that path. For example, some of the changes from recent years:

  • bol.com uses sustainability labels on the bol.com platform. For example, if a product is made by a company with a Social Enterprise NL certification, bol.com will also label the product as a ‘Sustainable Choice’ and offer it on the platform.
  • Much of bol.com’s value chain is climate-neutral certified according to the Climate Neutral Certification standard: from the moment items enter the bol.com fulfillment center to the moment items are delivered to the customer.
  • bol.com has created a B Corp shop, highlighting products from Certified B Corps.

What were some of the toughest challenges bol.com faced during the B Corp certification process, and how did you address them?
Collecting all the data for the evaluation was not easy, but it also gave us a lot. The structure of the score kept us focused, just as a target within the company also gives you direction. The two now coincide more. 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. So far, B Corp certification has already yielded many new initiatives, important conversations, and challenging choices.

How does bol.com plan to actively engage and collaborate with other B Corps to drive positive change and create collective impact?
We sell more than 10.000 products from fellow B Corps, think of Rituals, Naif, Dopper, and Brabantia, so the collaboration has already started. We have created a dedicated shop for B Corp companies, highlighting products from Certified B Corps.

Becoming a B Corp is the start of a journey of continuous improvement. So looking ahead, what is bol.com’s biggest challenge to tackle in terms of sustainability and social impact?
The production of non-food items is one of the big drivers of climate change, this is one of the biggest challenges to tackle. For an average Dutch person, non-food items are the largest chunk of their total footprint, larger than eating meat, driving a car, and flying. We are an important link in the chain. We want to help with initiatives such as offering a more sustainable assortment that is labeled so in a trustworthy way. Therefore, bol.com has partnered with Milieu Centraal to better assist consumers in making a more sustainable choice. This collaboration with experts will be further expanded, so that bol.com can better assist partners with serious sustainability ambitions to grow.

👉 Learn more about bol.com’s specific initiatives in each of the five impact areas, the B Corp Certification is assessing — environment, customers, community, governance, and consumers –, on their public B Corp profile.

👉 Learn more about the B Corp certification here.



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