engage magazine issue 006/\'08 - Page 44

44 BUSINESS DIVERSITY Committed 2 Equality Janet’s experiences taught her that businesses want solutions and help with their practices and this knowledge lead to the induction/ introduction of the C2E high quality programmes such as Diversity Assured and Diversity Footprint. They can be directly linked into the business procurement processes and allow buyer and supplier organisations to meet their contractual and legal obligations. SUPPLIER DIVERSITY In the USA, supplier diversity is a commercial imperative. It will soon become so in the UK, especially as it is teeming with well-known names such as CitiGroup, Marriott, HP, Microsoft, Boeing, McDonalds and Sony to name a few. The UK is waking up to supplier diversity and yet the challenge is different. Whereas Positive Action is illegal, supplier diversity is gathering pace. Public bodies and local authorities have begun to catch on to the idea and are writing the requirements into contracts. Stephen Dury, Director of Finance, London First and Janet Lakhani, Chief Executive, Committed2Equality PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR Supplying the public sector is a huge market as over 330,000 businesses, who employ 8 million people or 30% of the country’s workforce, rely on income from either central or local government. Around 60% of large businesses and 1 in 7 small businesses have contracts with the public sector; at the last count over 75% of them have little or no EQUALiTY and diversity practices at all. Many private sector organisations have become C2E accredited and will be using the programme with their own suppliers. The latest example is London First. Local authorities have identified significant benefits to the council by using the C2E programme. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham will use the c2e programme throughout the council and its suppliers. Good pra ctice is expected of prime suppliers and that is why businesses need to prepare. Janet believes that by 2012, the UK will have caught up with the USA and even moved ahead. Good Practice is driven by the diversity of the UK and the impact that major public spending programmes like the London Olympics are having. One of the key legacies from the Olympics will be supplier diversity. Already leaders in the UK have started to look at all suppliers and their Diversity Footprint which means that suppliers need to be aware and prepared. In addition they must offer a competitive commercial package, excellent service, provide value added products or services and meet or exceed customer standards of quality. engage | uk ISSUE SIX 2008