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According to recent news, the UK’s top companies are being pushed towards appointing more women to their boards. The initiative is spearheaded by the so-called 30% Club, a lobby group founded over one year ago with the intention of lifting the proportion of women on boards to 30% by 2015.
So what? Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club, argues: “There is growing evidence that adding women to the board does have an impact on the financial performance of a company.”
While in the US, diversity in corporate settings, whether it’s on the C-level, through the wider organisation or in the supplier pool, is a topic that is taken quite seriously. On European territories, it remains a concept that has received little to no attention so far. Food and beverage giant Pepsico sources more than US$1 billion in goods and services from minority- and women-owned suppliers, and consumer goods company P&G has even stepped over the US$2 billion threshold.
And it is not necessarily for altruistic reasons that their procurement organisation are going through the effort of establishing a supplier diversity program. In fact, minority suppliers are held to the same standards in terms of pricing, quality and supply assurance as all other suppliers. And during fiddicult economic times, the spending with minority-owned businesses are more challenging to maintain as these type of businesses naturally require the buyer’s support and development opportunities. But because of their niche expertise, these types of suppliers can and do contribute to the buying organisation’s innovation pool.
So why is it that many European organisations have missed that boat to running more diverse businesses, when north America is making it an integral part of running business on a day-to-day basis, and even China, yes China, is rapidly embracing the concept of supplier diversity these days?