Supplier diversity is an American concept that is gaining traction overseas.  With the rise of workplace focused initiatives in continents like Europe and Asia, it is only a matter of time before the idea of diversity representation expands to include corporate suppliers.  "At the recent WEConnect International Europe conference in London,“ the benefits of supplier diversity where discussed along with how Europe can take advantage of the American idea.

Two corporations (IBM and Intel)  presented their current strategies around supplier diversity with "Joe Jones, principal consultant at sustainability consultancy SustainIt” suggesting 6 key steps to establishing a successful supplier diversity program in Europe.  

For IBM, their international success has come from positioning supplier diversity as a “strategic business imperative due to the value it adds to the business”  Because of this focus, their supplier diversity program has been implemented in over 170 countries and has led to the company spending $2.6 billion with diverse suppliers in 2015.  

Intel has taken a different approach focusing on a Tier Two scheme, promoting diversity spend for its 16,000 suppliers.  The company has recently expanded its supplier diversity program internationally providing training to their suppliers for reporting purposes.  "A supplier workshop for organisations in the same sector was also held for networking purposes. By the end of the second quarter, more than $7 million of expenditure had been identified with certified Tier Two players.“

Supplier diversity is indeed gaining ground, and Joe Jones of SustainIT has outlined 6 key steps to implementing a successful plan for any European organization looking to do so:

  1. Get buy-in from the board
  2. Clarify your objectives and build a business case
  3. Keep definitions and classifications simple
  4. Create a pilot project
  5. Undertake supplier audits
  6. Don’t be afraid to use spreadsheets to collect data