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Supplier Diversity Receiving More Attention Amid Pandemic, Social Justice Movements

  • Large companies with supplier diversity programs support a variety of companies, including small businesses and those run by women, minorities, or LGBTQ owners
  • Supplier diversity enhances a large company’s reputation while broadening the economic opportunities for partnering businesses
  • Diversity commitments have been receiving more attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as social justice movements

Supplier diversity programs have been around for more than 50 years, but they have started to receive more attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as accelerating social justice movements. Such programs allow smaller businesses to partner with larger firms in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Diverse suppliers are defined as businesses that are at least 51 percent owned and operated by members of an underserved or underrepresented groups. These include not only small businesses, but also those run by women, minorities, people identifying as LGBTQ, veterans or disabled people. Many of these businesses have been more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A supplier diversity program can help bolster the reputation of a large company, increase its pool of potential suppliers, and make its supply chains more resilient. Partnering companies benefit through enhanced economic opportunities, access to resources such as workplace training, and the possibility of influencing policy at the larger business.

Companies typically need to receive certification from a third-party organization to be considered a diverse supplier.

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