Sustainability & Diversity

What procurement can do to support the queer community

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Updated: Jan 31, 2024

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the visibility and acceptance of the queer community in the business landscape. During pride month, Linkedin and other social media platforms are filled with rainbow logos.

While pride month is an excellent opportunity to show support for this community, it is crucial to recognize that queer issues are not confined to a single month.

It is essential to take consistent and continuous action to support queer communities year-round, and the procurement function can play a huge role in this effort!

Action can be taken internally and through collaboration with suppliers. Here are 5 ways that procurement can support the queer community beyond pride month:

 

1. Show and communicate support to local queer communities

One of the most critical steps that procurement can take to support the queer community is to show consistent support to local queer communities. This can include financial donations to queer charities or non-profit organizations, sponsorships for queer events or programs, or volunteer support.

It is crucial to ensure that this support is genuine and not just a token gesture to appear socially responsible. One way to ensure that your support is genuine is to involve queer stakeholders in the decision-making process to better understand the issues that impact them.

 

2. Avoid “pinkwashing”

Pinkwashing, or “rainbow washing”, refers to organizations that use the queer community's struggles to promote their brand while failing to take meaningful actions to support the community.

Pinkwashing can be harmful, as it can create a false impression of support for the queer community while taking no concrete action to address the issues they face.

Procurement teams should ensure that any support they provide to the queer community is consistent and genuinely beneficial, and not merely a public relations (PR) stunt.

 

3. Procurement team training and recruitment decisions

To support the queer community, procurement teams should ensure their workforce is diverse and inclusive. This can be achieved by providing training to employees to increase awareness of queer issues and foster a more inclusive workplace.

The topics and priorities keep evolving, and teams should be kept up to date on how they can promote more inclusive business. Procurement teams can also focus on recruiting queer employees or employees from diverse backgrounds to bring a different perspective to procurement decision-making.

 

4. Diversify your supply chain

A key aspect of supporting the queer community is to diversify the supply chain. This means that procurement teams should consider doing business with queer-owned or queer-friendly suppliers. By diversifying the supply chain, procurement teams can support the queer community while also promoting economic growth and innovation.

What is not measured cannot be managed. The share of diverse spend should be tracked so you can be transparent about how diverse your spend is and how you intend to increase the number and share of queer-owned businesses.

 

5. Diverse spend management

Another way procurement can support the queer community is by engaging in diverse spend management practices. Procurement teams can review their current spend practices to ensure that they are not inadvertently contributing to discrimination or harming the queer community.

For example, procurement teams should avoid doing business with suppliers who have been found to engage in discriminatory practices against the queer community. Identifying such suppliers can be difficult, but risk monitoring and collaboration with internal communications and PR teams can help.

 

Diverse business is good business

Supporting the queer community is not something that should be limited to a single month or a one-time donation. Procurement teams have a significant role to play in creating an inclusive environment for the queer community year-round.

It’s not just the right thing to do. It is also good for business. Collaborating with suppliers that are discriminating against or harming the queer community can turn into reputational damage, lost brand value, and negative perceptions among the customers, ultimately leading to lost sales.

A more diverse and inclusive Procurement that works cross-functionally to make its policies and practices reflect that can foster innovation and improve employee morale, leading to better business.

Jasmiina Toikka

Jasmiina is Head of Content Marketing at Sievo with broad expertise in procurement and category management.

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