Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity Tools'Supplier diversity' (also known as 'inclusive procurement') is considered to be the proactive activity undertaken by contracting authorities to ensure that all relevant, potential suppliers have the fair and equal opportunity to complete for business within their supply chains. This can include micro, small and medium enterprises (broadly those with fewer than 10, fewer than 50 and fewer than 250 employees respectively), social enterprises, 'local' vendors (where 'local' is defined by the scope of the contract) and enterprises that are majority owned and controlled by minority groups including, but not limited to, ethnic minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ people, armed forces veterans and people with a disability (Professor Monder Ram OBE).


CIPS members can sign in to access tools to help your organisation on your ED&I journey in creating a more diverse and inclusive supply base


Diversity & Inclusion is wider than the workplace. The most successful businesses know that by creating diversity in their supply chains as well, they can unlock innovation and agility, and improve their ethical credentials.

Procurement plays a key role in such diversification, creating the economic and moral value that will result from the opportunities a more flexible, more creative supply base brings.


“When you leverage a small diverse business, they are more nimble and able to rmp up faster in some cases.” Nedra Dickson, global supplier and sustainablilty lead at Accenture.

This Knowledge area provides resources from CIPS in collaboration with two organisations that promote supplier diversity in different forms: EMBs and women-owned businesses. 



The Business Case for Supplier Diversity & Inclusion.

This brief video, provides a high level overview of global Supplier Diversity & Inclusion and the business case, how corporations and governments can benefit economically with inclusive sourcing efforts. Watch the video.



Inclusive Procurement 



Supplier Diversity: Unlocking Innovation, Driving Competitiveness and Enhancing Reputation

We prefer variety in our pastimes, biodiversity in our ecosystems and diversified holdings in our portfolios. Yet we unconsciously resist diversity in our social and professional communities. This attitude has become a liability in today’s marketplace, costing companies talent, growth and innovative solutions.

From the workforce to the supply chain, diversity and inclusion of people and ideas are critical drivers for further growth in any organisation and no longer the ‘box-ticking’ exercises of the past. Forward-thinking organisations are truly embracing and committing to diversity as an integral part of improving profitability and profits, and outperforming the competition.


Unlocking Innovation through Diversity MSDUK Supplier Diversity

In a digital world driven by relentless technological advancement, innovation has to take centre stage in every corporate strategy if organisations are not to be left behind. There is strong evidence that innovation comes mostly from small businesses and individuals, which makes incorporating such entities within the supply chain a critical factor for organisations seeking to bring new solutions, breakthrough technology and disruptive businesses to market. Diversity within supply chains can not only bring new ideas and solutions to an organisation, but also boost competitiveness and market growth. But it goes further than these commercial benefits to encompass social value; the ability to reduce socio-economic inequality and create stronger, more stable communities. With many global business leaders finally waking up to the huge potential in supplier diversity, businesses that understand how to use this to their advantage will stand to gain a competitive advantage and genuinely be able to make a positive contribution to a fairer society.

In times when global brands are sourcing goods and services from across the world, consolidating the supplier base becomes strategic, creating economies of scales and reducing administrative burden. However, it also reduces the chances of accessing the best suppliers and most innovative solutions. True industry leaders recognise the urgent need to expand their global sourcing efforts to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base and to capitalise on innovative local talent identified through inclusive sourcing strategies.

Jointly presented by MSDUK, the UK’s leading supplier diversity advocacy network, and CIPS, this publication provides procurement leaders and professionals with an overview of the business case for an inclusive and diverse supply chain. It includes contributions from senior supply chain experts and companies with world-class supplier diversity programmes, and provides real-life examples and best practices to embed supplier diversity beyond procurement. It is an essential roadmap for any organisation looking to establish a world-class supplier diversity programme that brings innovation into the business, makes supply chains more competitive and flexible, and delivers socio-economic value while enhancing reputation.

By downloading this report you will learn more about:

  • What supplier diversity is?
  • What value does diverse supply bring?
  • Why is supplier diversity important to business?
  • Why is supplier diversity important to CPOs?
  • Why is supplier diversity still a challenge?
  • What can be done to make it happen?
  • What makes supplier diversity work?
  • Practical case studies from three organisations 


CIPS members can access the full report by signing in below.

Not a CIPS member? You can request a copy of the full report here.



Welcome to the Supplier Diversity Podcast series.


Supplier Diversity Podcast: Dennis Ford, Supplier Diversity Awards Winner, SM Awards 2020 on promoting supplier diversity programs at Cummins Ltd


Denis Ford   

Click the link to listen to the podcast with Denis Ford

Supplier Diversity Podcast: Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK on supporting ethnic minority businesses

Supplier Diversity Podcast: Paul Harvey, on embedding supplier diversity at Marsh and McLennon Companies
Supplier Diversity Podcast: Farida Gibbs, Chief Executive at Gibbs Hybrid on being an ethnic minority women-owned business

Best Practice: Successful Supplier Diversity Project

2020 Best in Procurement Winners the South Australia Government share their supplier diversity project in the Department for Child Protection (DCP) and their commitment to increasing commercial relationships with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).  

Watch the webinar



CIPS are delighted to be working with MSDUK to provide and support their mission to 'Unlock Innovation Through Supplier Diversity'.


MSDUK brings together innovative and highgrowth EMBs with global corporations committed towards creating an inclusive and diverse supply chain.






A practical guide to developing and implementing a corporate minority supplier development programme, covering:

  • Developing overarching guidelines and policies
  • Developing and Implementing Minority Supplier Development Action Plan
  • Establish comprehensive internal and external communications
  • Increasing opportunities for diverse suppliers
  • Establish minority supplier development processes
  • Tracking and measuring success


The report looks at the business case for supplier diversity with respect to consumers, strategic supply and community impact.

MSDUK Challenge 2019

The MSDUK Innovation Challenge is a unique competition that offers ethnic minority founders with innovative products or solutions access to knowledge, investment and market opportunities. It is designed to promote inclusive innovation and tackle under-representation of Ethnic Minority-led Businesses (EMBs). We offer an exclusive and unique platform to support ethnic minority founders with a new idea; helping them develop these ideas, access investment and market opportunities and bring those ideas to life.





To find out more about MSDUK, click here and upcoming events.

WEConnect International

WEConnect International


CIPS are delighted to be working with WEConnect International whose agenda is to ‘Connect Women's Enterprises with Market Opportunity Around the World.’




Webinar: The Journey to Going Global: How to Take Your Supplier Diversity Efforts Beyond the U S


WeConnect International Virtual Supplier Diversity Forum 2020 on 12 November
















To find out more about WEConnect International in Europe watch this introductory video and check out upcoming events

SME Development

SME Development

Legislation may require a large company to work with a percentage of (Small to Medium Enterprises) SME’s.  The drivers for such legislation may be to increase business going to small diverse suppliers, to increase the opportunities going to these diverse suppliers or to increase local supply.  There are many other benefits of working with SME’s, they can be more flexible and offer unique products or services.  They may offer a niche product or service where they have a greater expertise to offer.  They may offer a bigger business a more personalised and/or exceptional service.  An SME may need assistance from an SME to grow and develop in a way that benefits the SME but also the buying organisation.  This case study explores how the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) work with SME’s in this context.

Read the entire "Encouraging Supplier Diversity through SME Development" paper by downloading below.