Without support from the C-suite, mid-level managers, and frontline workers, supplier diversity efforts will not be successful. Cintas launched its supplier diversity initiative more than a decade ago, but needed a way to make the entire organization aware of and supportive of the benefits of supplier diversity.
In 2009, Cintas formed an executive steering committee (ESC) to promote the business case for supplier diversity. Although the global supply chain impacts a large majority of spend, there are areas beyond this that can contribute to our diverse spend goals.
Leaders from different business departments were invited to join so that they would understand key supplier diversity goals and their accountability. These leaders serve as champions of supplier diversity, driving the mission throughout the organization. The committee meets regularly and has welcomed customers, thought leaders and minority and women-owned business leaders to past meetings to enhance learning and collaboration.
Today, 35 champions are part of the ESC, with areas such as IT, HR, marketing, and legal. Because our leaders are engaged in supplier diversity, Cintas is ready when new opportunities with prospects and customers arise. Over the last decade, the company has spent $1.6 billion with diverse suppliers, and spent 11.7 percent of total spend with diverse suppliers in Fiscal Year 2017. Without the ESC, we would not have been able to make supplier diversity as systemic as it is today. We have a 3 year goal to reach a 15% spend.
In order to remain competitive and innovative and promote economic growth, today's organizations must embrace diversity and inclusion. We're committed to the CEO Action for Inclusion pledge because we believe that building diverse teams and working with diverse suppliers benefits our employees, our customers and our stakeholders. It's a win-win for everyone.