Kiara Williams, a leader of the group Warriors in the Garden. Protests continue since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on 25 May © Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images
Kiara Williams, a leader of the group Warriors in the Garden. Protests continue since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on 25 May © Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Firms urged to commit 1% of spend with ethnic minority businesses

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
1 July 2020

All FTSE100 firms are being urged to commit a minimum of 1% of procurement spend with ethnic minority businesses in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Supplier diversity organisation MSDUK said Floyd’s killing by police in the US had led to worldwide calls for justice and “for the first time we are seeing a collective response from corporate leaders”.

Along with the 1% spend commitment, MSDUK is calling for supplier diversity to be made mandatory in UK government tenders and contracts.

Mayank Shah, founder and CEO of MSDUK, said: “We believe it’s not just the role of corporate leaders, politicians, or sport stars to raise inequality issues; every one of us has a part to play.

“Only through increased supplier diversity, in both public and private sector procurement processes, will we be able to address socio-economic issues and create long-lasting change.”

MSDUK said the government did not monitor ownership of businesses around ethnicity or gender. “How can you produce policies to support disadvantaged business groups, if you do not collect or analyse any data?” said Shah.

“None of the 24 government departments or any local councils in the UK have a remit or mandate around supply diversity – this needs to change, and it needs to change quickly.”

He added: “All under-represented business groups – ethnic minorities, women, and others – should be a key part of the government’s policy to spend 33% with SMEs.”

MSDUK – which has worked with 125 global corporations and 3,000 ethnic minority businesses, generating more than £800m worth of business – said Companies House must be directed by the government to include questions on the ethnicity and gender of company directors.

Shah said: “We are asking all FTSE100 firms and global corporations with a significant presence in the UK to make supplier diversity a core part of your strategy. We urge organisations to make a public commitment to do business with ethnic minority businesses, and to back this with measurable targets.”

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