engage magazine issue 002 \\\\\\\'06 - Page 26

26 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES Transport for London Supplier Diversity in Action Faiza Rasheed, Head of TfL’s Procurement, Policy, Strategy and Best Practice Unit talks about TfL’s innovative approach to Supplier Diversity and how it has had the opportunity to influence supply chain composition. The Mayor’s vision is to develop London as an exemplar world city, which demonstrates social inclusivity and diversity at all levels. TfL is breaking new ground with its Supplier Diversity programme which is designed to bring this vision to life. Rasheed says “Supplier diversity plays an important part in contributing to TfL’s equality and inclusion commitments. It is a key priority for the Mayor and therefore important that we develop a diverse supply chain”. Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for operating London’s transport network, which includes the Underground, taxis, buses and trams. With a spend of £5 billion in goods, works and services, it is the largest procurer under the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Why do it? There are social and commercial benefits for promoting supplier diversity. Rasheed says “Diverse suppliers stimulate innovation and are able to provide more cost-effective solutions. This in turn drives social and economic growth”. Today’s cosmopolitan society means that demographics of suppliers and customers have evolved, presenting another business case for diversity. TfL is one of the first public sector organisations within Europe to implement a supplier diversity programme. “The lack of precedent in this area provided TfL with an opportunity to lead the way”, says Rasheed. Programme approach TfL launched its Supplier Diversity programme in April 2005 and since then Rasheed’s team, along with the legal, procurement and diversity advisors, has mainstreamed supplier diversity into TfL’s business operations. TfL’s supplier diversity programme consists of various projects which were executed simultaneously for maximum impact. “To start with we wanted absolute clarity on what is meant by ‘Diverse Suppliers’” says Rasheed. “So we created our own definition of Diverse Suppliers. This includes SMEs, BAMEs, women-owned and disabled-owned businesses amongst others”. Faiza Rasheed, Head of TfL’s Procurement Policy, Strategy and Best Practice Unit