Supplier diversity

IBM has long recognized that diversity is critical to fostering innovation and delivering value to clients — and that supplier diversity adds to our competitive advantage while stimulating growth in a global marketplace.

IBM created its supplier diversity program in 1968, before the existence of the US Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Our program's goal is to provide opportunities to diverse suppliers who can add value in every region where we operate.

IBM was the first information technology firm to join the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an organization that encourages corporate entities to grow their supplier diversity programs by increasing commitment and spending levels each year. Since 2000, IBM has annually conducted greater than $1 billion in business with first-tier diverse suppliers in the United States. With the growth of IBM’s diverse supplier initiative outside the United States, IBM since 2006 has conducted more than $2 billion in business annually with first-tier diverse suppliers globally. In 2014, IBM purchased $2.9 billion in goods and services from first- and second-tier diverse suppliers globally, of which $1.5 billion was with first-tier diverse suppliers in the United States and $883 million with first-tier diverse suppliers in other countries.


IBM spent $2.9 billion with first- and second-tier diverse suppliers in 2014, including $883 million with non-US first-tier suppliers.

Amount of IBM business conducted with first-tier diverse suppliers

($ in millions)


IBM’s diverse supplier expenditures with first-tier suppliers declined in 2014 as the result of business actions beyond the sphere of influence of IBM’s supplier diversity activities. A number of diverse suppliers were providing goods and services for business lines that IBM divested in 2014 (IBM’s customer care Business Process Outsourcing services that were sold to Concentrix and IBM’s System x server business sold to Lenovo); spend associated with these suppliers is reflected in the report up to the point of divestiture. Also in 2014, one of IBM’s larger diverse suppliers in the United States relinquished its diverse status due to its growth and transformation into a publically owned company.

In 2014, IBM was selected for the 12th consecutive year as one of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s top corporations, and was recognized internationally by the UK’s Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion’s Inclusive Procurement Award. We were also honored with Supplier Diversity Programme of the Year by the European Diversity Awards In addition, Michael Robinson, IBM’s program director of global supplier diversity, was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame, was given the Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award from MBDA and was selected as Advocate of the Year by the Minority Supplier Development China organization.

IBM’s will continue fostering diversity in its global supply chain as business needs evolve. IBM works with external organizations to support identification and development of diverse firms in the countries where we have purchasing needs.