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 U.S. 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. Suppliers qualify by being at least 51 percent owned by people from an ethnic minority (as defined in each country or region), or by women, military veterans, people with disabilities or LGBT individuals.
In 2003, IBM expanded the program beyond the United States to promote relationships with diverse suppliers in every country where we operate. Each geographic region has its own program manager, and each has established locally relevant criteria for diverse suppliers. In all regions, our goal is to promote economic opportunities for historically disempowered groups wherever we operate.
IBM was the first information technology firm to join the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an organization that encourages businesses to increase their spending with diverse suppliers. 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 2015, IBM purchased $2.6 billion in goods and services from first- and second-tier diverse suppliers globally, of which nearly $1.4 billion was with first-tier diverse suppliers in the United States and $718 million with first-tier diverse suppliers in other countries.