Supply Professionals Called to Lead Socially Responsible, Diverse Practices

FOR RELEASE: December 6, 2004

CONTACT: Jean McHale
  ISM Public Relations
  800/888-6276 ext. 3143
Survey of socially responsible employment and supplier practices gives baseline of current business behaviors among supply professionals

TEMPE, Ariz., December 6, 2004 — As part of its mission to lead supply management, Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) continues to encourage supply professionals to leverage their key organizational roles to lead socially responsible behaviors that benefit the workplace and, by extension, the individual, the organization and the community.

During 2004, ISM announced Principles of Social Responsibility, the first of their kind for the supply management profession. The principles are a framework of definitions and behaviors, tailored to supply management, in seven areas: Community, Diversity, Environment, Ethics, Financial Responsibility, Human Rights and Safety. The principle, Diversity, encourages behaviors that proactively promote purchasing from, and the development of, socially diverse suppliers. Although many companies have their own standards in place for corporate-wide behavior, today, professionals of all supply management titles, positions and organizational roles are taking the lead by proactively promoting diverse employment practices throughout the supply chain.

Betty Banks, chair of ISM's Minority and Women's Business Development Group, says Diversity, as defined in ISM's Principles of Social Responsibility, is a meaningful guide and a call to action for supply professionals. "Supplier diversity is an essential business concern, within an organization and externally," Banks says. "Professionals who manage supplier relationships have a growing array of resources and tools to help ensure fair opportunities for suppliers to compete at cost, quality, and delivery." Banks is director of supplier diversity for Houston-based Waste Management, Inc., and utilizes her leadership role with ISM's Minority and Women's Business Development Group, a special interest networking and education group, to offer guidance on developing and implementing supply management programs that provide business opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms. "The Principles document is an added tool for identifying, developing and measuring diversity and inclusion," Banks says.

In order to measure the impact of socially responsible, diverse practices, ISM's Committee on Social Responsibility established a baseline for current socially responsible behavior by conducting the first-ever survey of supply professionals. The summary report, Social Responsibility and the Supply Management Profession: A Baseline Study, summarizes the results of a large-scale survey of supply managers representing a diverse set of industries across manufacturing, service and government/education sectors.

A total of 1,163 organizations responded to an e-mail survey sent to 11,119 addresses, for a response rate of 12.5 percent. In general, responding organizations classified as education, government and service reported a higher level of involvement with diversity. Sixty four percent of 1,040 respondents reported that their organizations have a written policy on diversity for employees. In addition, 41 percent of those same respondents reported that their organizations have a written policy on supplier diversity for employees.

ISM's Principles of Social Responsibility Web page at includes links to downloadable versions of the Principles of Social Responsibility and the Baseline Study, as well as links to Web sites relating to each of the principles and a list of companies supporting the initiative. Supply professionals are contributing valuable content to these pages by sharing information on whether their organizations have written policies and/or guidelines in place. They are also indicating the degree of support their organizations have in sharing policies and practices or incorporating elements of ISM's social responsibility messages. In addition, supply professionals are using the Principles audit document to evaluate practices in their own organizations.

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