Supplier inclusion: good for business, good for women, good for sustainable development
New opportunities for women, business and sustainable development can be achieved by promoting supplier diversity and inclusion as a key component of sustainable procurement. That message is at the core of a new strategic alliance between the UN Global Compact, UN Women, the International Trade Centre (ITC), and WEConnect International, the corporate-led non-profit that empowers women to thrive in global markets.
Amanda Ellis, Head of the New Zealand Aid Programme, Deputy Secretary International Development in New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and a member of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group, announced the alliance today at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The alliance was established under the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors, which aims to increase women's share of corporate, government and institutional procurement.
"Making the connection between supplier diversity initiatives and sustainable procurement practices can help to yield benefits for buyers, suppliers and societies," said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact "This is a prime example of women's empowerment and opportunities that can flow from an integrated approach to corporate sustainability."
ITC welcomes new partners to the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors and values relationships that deliver for women entrepreneurs” said Patricia Francis, Executive Director, ITC.
“This collaboration is one of great synergy,” said Elizabeth Vazquez, WEConnect International CEO and co-founder, “especially given the increasing importance of social, environmental, and governance performance reviews of companies by internal and external stakeholders."
For companies that can demonstrate their commitment to environmental and social sustainability, the business opportunities in global value chains are growing rapidly. Women-owned enterprises embracing corporate sustainability can boost their market share and business opportunities with industry leaders.
The collaboration between the UN Global Compact, UN Women, ITC and WEConnect International will explore global and local opportunities to make the connection between sustainable supply chain management and supplier inclusion initiatives, and help advance Principle 5 of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPs are the result of a partnership between the UN Global Compact and UN Women, and include the call for corporations around the world to extend their business relationships with women-owned enterprises.
The collaboration will also bring to a wider audience the information, tools and resources needed to empower corporations and women-owned enterprises to work more closely together to achieve sustainable shared value. Among the alliance’s anticipated activities are educational webinars, capacity-building efforts, updated guidance materials, trade events, and calls to action.
A critical dimension of the collaboration will be raising awareness of other initiatives that connect supplier inclusion with corporate sustainability.
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