WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Discover tools to help companies identify and develop gender-diverse businesses in the supply chain.
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WHAT’S IN THE TOOL SUITE?
10 practical tools and guidance notes for companies to identify and develop business relationships with women-owned suppliers, and suppliers with significant numbers of female employees.
Benefits of Women-Owned Businesses in the Supply Chain
GENDER DIVERSITY SUPPORTS THE BOTTOM LINE AND LOCAL ECONOMIES
Growing data suggests that including women- and minority-owned suppliers in supply chains not only boosts local economies, but also saves companies money. Yet in the infrastructure supply chain, women-owned businesses remain chronically underrepresented.
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HOW TO USE THIS TOOL SUITE
Different companies will face different challenges and opportunities. This tool suite includes a menu of tools to pick and choose from, based on organizational needs and priorities. Companies don’t need to use all the tools listed here, and can use them in the order that best fits.
How Diverse is the Existing Supply Chain?
This tool helps companies understand the gender diversity of their supply chain, and identify any limitations and opportunities for women-owned businesses.
- Conduct a Self-Assessment to assess gender gaps in the company supply chain and understand any internal limitations or opportunities to improve gender diversity.
How To Make the Supply Chain More Inclusive?
These tools help companies take practical actions to increase gender diversity, inclusion, and gender-equitable opportunities in the supply chain.
- Lay the groundwork by defining ‘women-owned businesses’ and establishing eligibility parameters.
- Develop a coherent business case to present to company management.
- Establish procedures and policies, including a code of conduct for increasing supply chain gender diversity.
- Develop a comprehensive gender diversity supply chain program.
- Support capacity building of women-owned businesses through programming.
- Develop coaching programs to support female business owners.
- Municipal leaders should also consult city-specific guidance on increasing engagement with female suppliers.
How To Know if the Supply Chain is Becoming More Gender Inclusive?
This tool offers guidance on how to monitor and sustain engagement with women-owned businesses in the supply chain.
- Monitor and track progress in the growth of women-owned businesses in the supply chain.
GENDER DIVERSE SUPPLY CHAINS
Women are underrepresented in the infrastructure workforce, despite evidence that diversity improves workplace outcomes.
Women are 25% less likely than men to have access to the Internet or own a mobile phone, both of which create barriers to entrepreneurship in a technology-dependent world.
Companies that prioritize supplier diversity have a 133% greater return on procurement investments, spend 20% less on buying operations, and have considerably smaller procurement teams than those with lower supplier diversity.
Jobs created by women-owned business in the United States alone.
Source: Business Wire
The number of women-owned firms in the United States grew twice as fast as all privately owned firms between 1997 and 2006.
Globally, 58% of women have bank accounts, compared to 65% of men. They typically have lower levels of financial literacy and can be more debt-averse than men, which inhibits business startups.
Closing the financing gap between male-led and female-led businesses in emerging economies would lead to 12% growth in per capita income in these countries by 2030.
EXAMPLES AND CASE STUDIES
WEConnect: A Global Network for Women-Owned Businesses
WEConnect International is a global network that connects women-owned businesses with supplier opportunities. The platform certifies women-led businesses outside the U.S. and connects these businesses with corporate buyers, including major multinational corporations. Corporations can register on the WEConnect website to become corporate members, and women-owned businesses can sign up to become certified suppliers.
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Supplier Diversity Code of Conduct
WEConnect International and the Royal Bank of Scotland developed a template for a supplier diversity code of conduct. Companies can sign on to the code, which signals their intent to update procurement policies, community engagement, and monitoring and evaluation metrics to support greater engagement with local women-owned businesses. The code defines company commitments and lays the groundwork for a more specific and detailed plan of action to increase gender diversity in the supply chain.
Anglian Water’s Platform for SME-led Innovation and Partnerships
Anglian Water, a company that supplies water and water recycling services to more than 6 million customers in the east of England, is engaging with local suppliers in creative ways to deliver environmental solutions. It launched an online portal, the Water Innovation Network, to encourage smaller businesses to share ideas. The portal led to a new partnership between Anglian Water and Concrete Canvas, an SME that produces a flexible concrete-impregnated fabric that is quicker to install and better for the environment than conventional concrete.
Boyner Group Strengthens its Supplier Base Through Capacity Building
The Boyner Group is Turkey’s largest publicly traded non-electronics retailer. While female-owned suppliers make up 17% of its vendor base—double the Turkish average—the company has recognized that women-owned businesses face unique obstacles in becoming suppliers to major buyers. Working with IFC, the company designed a 12-week program to build the capacity of women-led small companies that have the potential to become part of a corporate supply chain. The “Good for Business” program trains female entrepreneurs and connects them with mentors, financial institutions, and brands that can help advance their businesses.
SheTrades: Bringing Together Supply and Demand
SheTrades is an initiative of the International Trade Center that brings together female entrepreneurs and suppliers to address barriers to improving gender diversity. Through the use of the SheTrades app, female entrepreneurs can connect with others, expand their networks, and internationalize their businesses, giving them increased visibility. The app itself is the result of a global tech challenge sponsored by SheTrades in partnership with Google and Brazilian tech firm CI&T. Greenbell Communications, a woman-owned Kenyan technology firm, won the competition and created the SheTrades platform.
U.S. Multinationals Commit to Tracking Supply Chain Diversity
In March 2017, nine American corporations formed a coalition committed to tracking and reporting their sourcing from women-owned businesses. Companies in the coalition include Walmart, Campbell Soup Company, The Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble. Doing so helps fuel innovation and growth, as well as support the 23 million jobs created or maintained by U.S. women-owned businesses, officials said.