The History of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion

Supplier Diversity Adobe Stock Image With Commerical Use Rights

What Do Diversity and Inclusion Have To Do With Supplier Diversity?

According to Wikipedia, supplier diversity is a proactive business program that encourages the use of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, historically underutilized business, and Small Business Administration (SBA)-defined small business concerns.

The Concept and Origin of Supplier Diversity

The concept of supplier diversity, (inclusion) while not referred to by the same name at the time, has its genesis in America as early as 1940 when President, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law an order making discrimination illegal in defense contracting.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporation Social Responsibility — Adobe Stock Image with Commerical Rights Use

The Reality Gap Between Diversity and Inclusion for Diverse Suppliers.

No matter how well-meaning corporate responsibility initiatives have been and are, there are gaps between the goal of supplier diversity and obtaining it in an optimum quantity as desired.

How To Bridge The Inclusive Gap of Diversity Within The Corporate Supply Chain

Bridging the gap of diversity and ensuring inclusiveness within corporate supply chains can be greatly enhanced by adopting standards across the board that apply to the qualifications, certifications, and the equities needed along with meeting the expectations of the stakeholders within the corporate ecosystem.

International Standardization of Diversity Programs Should Be Established

Standardization is common to corporations through the International Organization for Standards (ISO).

Make Diversity and Its Implementation a C-level Corporate Position

Another important step toward narrowing the diversity gap is the establishment of and empowerment of corporate personnel in charge of such a program.

Establish Training and Support To Eliminate Ethnic and Gender Unconscious Bias

Human Resources Department Must Be A Proactive Participant In Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Strategies

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, (HR) employers often recognize the theoretical value of diversity and inclusion programs.

Make Sure The Proper Metrics Are Being Used To Quantify Diversity Efforts

If it’s not properly measured even the best efforts employed in establishing an inclusive diversity program will not be as useful as it could be. If it’s not measured, it can’t be managed.

Community Outreach and Involvement

Corporate social responsibility and the goal of inclusiveness can be enhanced in a multitude of ways through a company’s community involvement.

Create A Tier 1 and Beyond Responsibility and Accountability Plan For Accomplishing Diversity and Inclusion Goals.

A very efficient and effective way for corporations to fulfill corporate social responsibility and diversity objectives and to narrow the gap in getting there is to create a program or process whereby the corporation’s Tier 1 suppliers (suppliers that provide direct goods and services to a corporation without middle persons) are encouraged and incentified to educate, support and assist Tier 2 and Tier 3 that support the efforts of the Tier 1 suppliers.

Efficient Use of Organizations That Can Enhance Diversity Platforms

Attaining the ultimate goal of any company’s diversity program can be enhanced through establishing strategic relationships with organizations that can act as feed lines of information and communication between diverse suppliers seeking opportunities with corporations and corporations.

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

WBENC’s mission is to certify women-owned businesses, (WBE’s) along with connecting them with corporate members that support the organization and provide real-time business opportunities and resources for women-owned business success.

National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

The NMSDC, headquartered in New York City, is comprised of 23 affiliate regional councils across America, all of whom provide minority business certification and business development opportunities.

Council for Supplier Diversity

The Council for Supplier Diversity is headquartered in San Diego, California, and is a national organization with its mission to be a gateway for diverse suppliers to expand and increase their bottom line.

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

The USHCC is the largest networking venue for Hispanic businesses in America. For over a generation, the USHCC has served as the nation’s leading Hispanic Business Organization, working to bring more than 4.37 million Hispanic owned businesses to the forefront of the national economic agenda.

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) provides committed visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, they support African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises.

National Black Chamber of Commerce

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora.

National LGBT Chamber of Commerce(NGLCC)

The NBLCC is the exclusive certifying body of LGBT owned businesses. They have local affiliates across the U.S.A.

National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NAVOBA)

NAVOBA connects corporate America to Certified Veteran Business Enterprises. It provides a direct link for contracting between corporations and VBEs (Veteran Business Enterprises) and Service-Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprises (SDVBE).

U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce(USPAAC)

USPAACC has a mission to be the gateway to corporate and government contracts for Asian Americans (includes, East, South, and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islanders), suppliers.

Adopt a B- Corporation Mission Mindset Where Appropriate

An innovative way for corporations to bridge the gap of inclusion for diverse suppliers as well as establishing a fully engaged diverse employee population is to consider and implement some attributes of B-Corporation (benefit corporation) philosophy and business practice.

Examples of Progress With Diversity and Inclusion Through Corporation Social Responsibility

It would be remissive for this article to fail to show the tremendous strides and progress that several corporations have made in developing and implementing platforms and programs that have helped thousands of minority, women, disabled veterans, and LBGT businesses enter into the mainstream of corporate America.


The struggle for equality and opportunity to share in the mainstream of corporate America and to compete on equal footing continues for diverse suppliers.



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Roy Landers

Roy Landers


Business attorney, entrepreneur, content marketer, and published author. I help you communicate your marketing message and generate sales.