Diverse supply chains can help companies reduce costs, enhance innovation and develop new markets
Ottawa—Despite the benefits of greater competitiveness, not enough Canadian businesses and government organizations are adopting supplier diversity practices that help women and minority-owned businesses gain access to larger organizational supply chains, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report. Diverse supply chains can help companies reduce costs, enhance innovation and develop new markets, says the report, entitled The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada.
“Unfortunately, the benefits of diverse supply chains are not widely known in Canada and many women or minority-owned businesses have difficulty gaining access to the supply chains of leading Canadian businesses and government organizations,” says Ruth Wright, director, human resources and inclusive talent management research, The Conference Board of Canada.
The value driven by inclusive employment practices is well understood by business. That diversity lens needs to be applied to all organizational processes so that inclusion becomes a mind set. Better access to the supply chains will create a win-win opportunity for both the supplier and the producer.
Highlights of the report include:
A diverse supplier is a business that is at least 51 percent owned, operated, and controlled by either women, members of either an Indigenous community or minority group or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Supplier diversity programs offer businesses owned by women and minority groups the opportunity to grow through access to new and expanding supply chains.
Supplier diversity practices have been prevalent in the US since the 1960s, yet their growth in Canada has been slow partly due to the lack of regulatory requirements for supplier diversity. A greater commitment to these programs by all levels of government and changes to procurement practices could help level the playing field and allow diverse businesses to compete with other established suppliers.
The report was prepared with support from Status of Women Canada.