Target has announced a $2 billion commitment to support Black-owned businesses by 2025 as part of its efforts to address racial equity.
Tony Byers, diversity and inclusion programs director at Cornell University, is an expert in corporate diversity and inclusion practices.
“As corporations explore ways to strengthen the impact of their diversity initiatives, a focus on the marketplace of suppliers has become more prominent. Many are familiar with a corporate approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) via their internal efforts, e.g., diversity recruiting, hiring and employee development. However, in addition to internal efforts there are external efforts that, in combination, serve to complete a full picture of an effective DE&I program. External efforts include activities in marketing and sales, as well as actions to support, develop and purchase from diverse vendors via a supplier diversity initiative.
“Supplier diversity initiatives are efforts to support minority owned businesses as way to increase product diversity, consumer engagement, and sales in addition to impacting economic disparity. Organizations like the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) have advocated for large corporations, like Target, to spend a percentage of operating revenue with minority owned businesses. NMSDC believes that the support of minority owned businesses will have a triple bottom line effect improving economic disparity, job growth, and skill development for diverse communities in addition to an increase in tax revenue for diverse communities.
“Target, as a retailer, is not alone in expanding its supplier-based initiatives. Other industries such as banking, consumer product goods, and technology have increased their efforts to address social and economic disparity with a focus on supporting suppliers.
“One benefit of supplier diversity initiatives is the appeal of these type of efforts by an expanding consumer base identified as Generation Z, who seemingly have higher expectations for corporate commitment to social, economic, and environmental change and is believed to make purchasing decisions based on the success of such programs.”