An effective supplier diversity program can provide multiple benefits for construction companies, including enhanced innovation, profitability, and the ability to attract and retain qualified minority and female employees.
The federal government, state government agencies, and even local governments require companies that do business with them to adopt and implement supplier diversity programs. Many government contracts impose specific levels of contracting with diverse businesses as a contract requirement.
The definitions of “diverse business” vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and many of the acronyms and names commonly used (e.g., Disadvantaged Business Enterprise or DBE) can have different meanings, depending on the laws and regulations applicable to the specific contracts. Therefore, contractors must perform due diligence on the supplier diversity requirements whenever they submit a bid or proposal for a government contract.
A growing number of non-governmental owners mandate diverse supplier participation in their projects. The “Billion Dollar Roundtable” is a group of major U.S. companies that have pledged to spend a minimum of $1 billion a year with diverse suppliers. Due to their large dollar value, construction projects are a key component of these efforts. As of May 31, 2019, the Roundtable has 27 members, including some of the biggest companies: Apple, Boeing, Exelon, and Walmart. Other companies are following this example.
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