Diversifying a business is the act of trading with those who have been traditionally overlooked or who are at a disadvantage to others. From the Conference Board of Canada’s “The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada, “Diverse, well-developed supply chains can help companies reduce costs, enhance innovation, successfully integrate acquired businesses, and reach new markets.”However, many women and minority-owned businesses have faced difficulty in gaining fair access to opportunity. Through diverse procurement policies and practices, these companies are supporting marginalised companies and helping to level the playing ground.
Here is our diverse Top 10 in procurement.
10: Cummins (USA)
CEO Tom Linebarger says: “Cummins has a long legacy of commitment to diversity and recognise diversity as one of our core values.” Linebarger sees diversity as a way to encourage talented individuals to work with Cummins, to increase their international presence and to exceed customer requirements. The Cummins Diversity Procurement Initiative increases purchasing from diverse suppliers, and the company has created a podcast on the subject: Backstage Pass.
09: World Bank Group (USA)
Headquarters: Washington DC
The World Bank was established at the end of the Second World War when the whole world hoped for a brighter future. The World Bank supports everyday entrepreneurship opportunities in Developing Nations and boasts a diverse procurement. “A diverse supplier base benefits us by bringing different perspectives. We are committed to promoting the business participation of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises in our procurement process.”
08: Johnson & Johnson (USA)
Headquarters: New Jersey
The makers of healthcare products for soothing babies, Johnson and Johnson, takes diverse procurement as seriously as parents take an opportunity to nap. The company spends more than US$1bn on items from small businesses and diverse-owned suppliers from the Supplier Diversity Program. “We work with suppliers to accelerate environmental and social improvements across the value chain. We ensure compliance with all procurement policies,” a representative said.
07: Bristol-Myers Squibb (USA)
Headquarters: New York
The pharmaceutical company recognises diversity in their procurement as a strength and a key to improving the lives of BMS’s patients. The company is “passionate about creating an environment that celebrates diversity” and has set up The Bristol Myers Squibb Supplier Diversity Program, which encourages suppliers owned by minorities, from the LGBTQ+ to the disabled, to join, giving them the chance to meet with industry experts.
06: Accenture (Ireland)
Consulting company Accenture has a motto: “Let there be change.” This is being implemented in the business’ procurement through Accenture's Diverse Supplier Development Program.
Accenture’s programme develops relationships with businesses owned by women, people with disabilities, the LGBT community and veterans. "We believe inclusive procurement practices create long-term value for our clients and our communities, while helping us remain ahead of the market," said Chief Procurement Officer, Kai Nowosel.
05: Oliver Wyman (USA)
Headquarters: New York
International management consulting firm Oliver Wyman has focused on the role and impact of women in procurement. The company surveyed 300 Chief Procurement Officers, who identified a number of areas which needed diversifying. This includes traditional fields such as combatting stereotypes to more modern issues, like normalising paternity leave. The survey also encourages unbiased hiring criteria and a transparent promotion process, and “open dialogue on gender diversity.”
04: Marriott (USA)
Hotel chain Marriott has a diverse supplier program, Exchanges, which encourages differences in the work space. “When we partner with minority-, women-, LGBT-, disabled-, and veteran-owned businesses, we all benefit. It helps to drive economic empowerment around the world, better support our customers and expand our global footprint.”
Globally, Marriott has spent over US$5bn with diverse suppliers over the past decade and has been awarded Diversity Inc 2016 Companies for Supplier Diversity.
03: MGM Resorts (USA)
Headquarters: Las Vegas
MGM Resorts, known for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, took a financial hit as a result of the pandemic. The company’s goals for 2025 include: “Ensuring that all employees—including women, the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour and people with disabilities—have equal access to leadership opportunities throughout MGM Resorts.” In addition, MGM Resorts plans to spend “at least 10% of our domestic biddable procurement with diverse suppliers.”
02: Coupa (USA)
Revenue: $95 million
Creating software used across the world by the likes of BMW and Adidas, Coupa’s transformation strategies are designed to “disrupt and transform.” Now Coupa is looking to drive diversity, making it easier for companies to increase their spend with diverse and inclusive suppliers through the Coupa Inclusion Initiative which provides new resources, tools, and technologies, as well as a diverse supplier portal that connects buyers with diverse and inclusive suppliers to drive economic impact.
The Coupa database has two million diverse suppliers, ranging from minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBT-owned. Coupa is also creating resources to encourage other businesses to diversify their own supply chains, from webinars and whitepapers to videos.
01: Coca Cola (USA)
If intelligent life contacts earth, the first beverage to be offered may well be a Coke. The iconic Coca-Cola bottles have been enjoyed from the sea bed to space and the drink has been the subject of many amusing Mentos experiments. The company supports their suppliers innovative and sustainable ideas. Coca-Cola is “committed to supplier diversity by maximising procurement opportunities and proactively engaging and building partnerships with diverse suppliers.” The company adds that its “procurement strategy will develop stronger local communities and create long-term growth.”
In its reverse supply chain, Coca-Cola has partnered up with the Nepali government, to help clean up the rubbish left behind by ambitious Everest climbers for the Clean Our Pride initiative.