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The Business Case for Supplier Diversity

Supply Chain Diversity Good For Business

Adopting procurement practices that favour businesses run by women, minorities and lesbian and gay entrepreneurs is not just the socially responsible thing to do, it can also promote innovation and cost savings, according to Canadian companies that are adopting diversity supplier policies.

“There’s certainly the clearer corporate responsibility aspect to it, but I think if you are partnering with a provider that is more flexible, that is providing a unique service, then I think there’s a business benefit to it as well,” said Uros Karadzic, national leader for EY’s (formerly Ernst & Young) talent and reward practice and the firm’s bEYond network, which supports and promotes LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) inclusiveness.

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Supplier Diversity in the GTA

Statistics Canada predicts that nearly 63 per cent of people living in the Toronto census metropolitan area will belong to a visible minority group by 2031. These are the future customers, employees, investors and taxpayers of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). They will also be the future owners and operators of businesses that will supply commercial, not-for-profit and governmental organizations. Now is the time to prepare for this future, the time to embrace supplier diversity (SD).

This report, part of the DiverseCity Counts research series, is an examination of supply chain policies and practices of large public, private and voluntary organizations. These policies and practices are important, yet often overlooked, levers of change and influence. This study focuses on SD programs; more specifically, on procurement policies and practices centered on doing business with suppliers owned by visible minorities.

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Supplier Diversity, Paradigm Shift

In a previous article I wrote titled “Spend Doesn’t Matter”, I highlighted the matrix driven goals followed by most corporations for their Supplier Diversity initiatives. For those unfamiliar with the term Supplier Diversity, “it is a business program amongst Fortune 1000 companies that encourages the use of privately-held companies owned by historically under-utilized businesses when purchasing goods/services.”

The fundamental goal of Supplier Diversity is to include businesses owned by diverse people in the supply chain of Fortune 1000 companies to build wealth within those communities. My objective is to create a paradigm shift to ensure that small businesses are the primary focus of that process.

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