Broadening Supplier Diversity through Business Diversity

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) has worked with its national corporate members for more than 50 years to set up and expand supplier diversity programs that ensure a diverse supplier base participates in the procurement process. But after 50 years, the needle has not moved far enough towards equity for systematically excluded communities of color.

Learn more below about how NMSDC is broadening supplier diversity through business diversity.

The Shift to Business Diversity

Traditionally the practice of diverse supplier inclusion was tied to procurement functions within the vast majority of corporations and has been known by most within the practice as “supplier diversity.” In most cases that alignment limited the visibility and impact that a diverse supplier base can have on the entire business. Additionally, it sometimes limited conversations and opportunities because it was seen as a procurement process or program.

That coupled with the shift in the business case from the right thing to do, to now a business imperative led to discussions on broadening supplier diversity to business diversity, creating broader awareness, accountability, and advocacy for diverse business inclusion. Business imperatives typically have initiatives implemented enterprise-wide, with endorsement from the C-suite that drives adoption and inclusion. Additionally, companies in recent years are looking at all aspects of supplier inclusion within the business ranging from supplier sustainability to corporate responsibility, all of which are initiatives supported throughout the business. 

Business diversity reframes supplier diversity as a strategic business imperative at the core of an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy. – Korn Ferry

As NMSDC took a deeper look into our vision and how we get there, with insight from our corporate partners, it became evident that the practice needed to expand beyond procurement – all lines of businesses across the enterprise needed to become aware and engaged. Diverse supplier inclusion needed to be threaded within the fabric of the business.  Hence the shift from supplier diversity to business diversity. It is with that understanding NMSDC launched the Minority Business Economic Forum in 2022 to galvanize the C-Suite in thought provoking conversations and recognitions on the impact of diverse supplier inclusion working towards forging pivotal relationships with high growth MBEs.

Business diversity challenges corporations to think beyond procurement spend to reimagine the impact the inclusion of a diverse supply base can have on the entire business and operations.   It highlights how decisions relative to supplier diversity programs are made and the opportunities available to the limited diverse suppliers.

  • Is this business imperative embedded in all aspects of the operations, from ESG to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) up to board discussions and reporting?
  • Do all executive leaders see this as their responsibility or is it only tied to one department or line of business?
  • Are supplier inclusion metrics included in CEO and board reporting against established goals?

For members new to supplier diversity, we will continue to help you establish and grow your program. For members with a long standing program, we will work with you to leverage your influence within your company to broaden your program into a dynamic enterprise-wide business diversity program, holding all lines of business leaders accountable for the inclusion of minority businesses in their procurement.

Together, we will reach our audacious goal of reaching $1 trillion in NMSDC-certified annual revenue by 2030! 

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