‘Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is often misused in the same context as Supplier Diversity. They are very different. Here’s how:
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) focuses on providing equal opportunities from a (person) Human Resource (HR) perspective.
Supplier Diversity focuses on providing commercial opportunities to businesses owned by under-utilised groups.
In the UK, EDI is underpinned by the Equality Act 2010 which serves to protect ‘employees’ from discrimination.
Now, there are 9 protected characteristics and it is against the law to discriminate against anyone based on these 9 characteristics:
Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion or belief, Sex, Sexual orientation.
In the UK, Supplier Diversity legislation was introduced in 2000 under the Local Government Act. This Directive served to remind local authorities that they had a responsibility to support the outcome of marginalised group owned businesses.
A business which is at least 51% owned by any of the following groups (UK) can be considered a Diverse owned business.
Ethnic minority owned, Woman owned, Disabled owned, Veteran owned, LGBTQ+ owned.
Other 'groups' include SMEs, Neurodiverse owned and veteran disabled owned businesses.
Note, the definition of a ‘Diverse Supplier’ can differ from country to country.