Five key considerations for supplier diversity programs

Authors: Rodney Johnson, Larry Phillips

This year begins unlike any other: in the midst of global pandemic, economic recession, and political transition. While business leaders face many competing priorities in Q1, supplier diversity is a critical topic at the forefront for many of them. 

Supplier diversity presents a massive opportunity for organizations to improve their bottom line while strengthening their local communities. As business leaders revisit their supplier diversity programs in 2021, we’ve highlighted five key points to consider.

1. A New Administration Could Mean a Change to Diversity Targets

We recommend staying informed on new legislation from the Biden administration and local government bodies, as it may impact your supplier diversity targets.

2. Supplier Diversity as a Reflection of Your Corporate Values

In 2020, several tragic events sparked a national conversation around racial injustice, which will continue in 2021. Motivated by these conversations, business leaders are reevaluating their supplier diversity programs, and asking the critical questions: is this program in line with our diversity goals? Can we do better? Can we do more?  More often than not, there is room for improvement. Use your supplier diversity program as a way to affirm your corporate values and strengthen your local community. 

3. Adapting to New Business Standards 

A new proposal was recently put forth to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt new listing rules on board diversity and disclosure. According to the proposal, "The goal of the proposal is to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the company’s current board composition and enhance investor confidence that all listed companies are considering diversity in selecting directors...." If this proposal is implemented, there may be a residual impact felt across the business landscape. Organizations should anticipate how they’ll be impacted, and update their diversity program accordingly. Additionally, businesses are increasingly requiring their vendor and business partners to report on their supplier diversity spend and work with diverse suppliers to compete for their business. As they work to increase their supplier diversity spend, companies expect and demand a similar commitment to supplier diversity from their business partners.

  Gallagher Connect Partners

Providing our clients with risk management and nontraditional solutions to increase their diverse spend with a diverse group of suppliers.

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4. Tapping into Supplier Networks

With current restrictions in place at state levels, work may continue to operate on a remote model for the immediate future. In this remote work environment, organizations may not have access to the same supplier diversity forums or resources they normally would. Whenever and wherever possible, organizations should leverage supplier diversity networks—such as the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, or Gallagher Connect Partners—to stay connected and engaged.

5. Identifying Industry-Specific Suppliers

All industries were affected by the events and restrictions of the past year, but not all were affected equally. When looking to partner with a diverse supplier, find a supplier with expertise tailored to you. They will know the ins-and-outs of your industry—safety regulations, ethics, state of the market, etc.—and can help proactively plan for any market disruptions that 2021 has in store.

Optimizing Your Supplier Diversity Spend

Altogether, several factors are moving the needle towards higher diversity targets. Higher targets on supplier diversity may be challenging for some organizations to meet through traditional suppliers. In this case, organizations should take a closer look at their insurance spend; insurance is an underutilized industry for supplier diversity.

Insurance is an underutilized industry for supplier diversity.

As many organizations look to strengthen their supplier diversity programs, Gallagher Connect Partners can help. Gallagher Connect Partners is an inclusive network of minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, and other diverse, certified insurance firms strategically selected based on their unique specializations, shared values and proven ability to best serve our clients’ risk management, insurance and supplier diversity needs. As a team, we support the growth of Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in insurance and help attract more diverse talent to the industry.

  • A growing network of 40+ diverse-certified partners in 40+ states
  • Providing tailored risk management programs to clients through partners’ local expertise and Gallagher’s global reach
  • Empowering clients to meet or exceed their supplier diversity goals through their risk management spend

Author Information:


Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and consultation services for our clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance/risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general informational purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers control. 

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