Sourcing and procurement has become globalised and the decisions being made in supply chains have significant impacts on people and the environment. It is the responsibility of the business to ensure that no harm is done on the people in your supply chain where possible. However, it is not always easy to know how to do this and to foster positive change. One of the best ways to discover how to improve the social ramifications of your business practices is through communication and collaboration with relevant stakeholders or representatives. Using the power of collaboration to support women workers and women-owned businesses in your supply chain and enhancing gender equality in the supply chain.

Collaboration is important to sourcing and procurement in order to ensure that the rights of all workers are being respected in regards to discrimination, gender equality, fair pay, fair treatment, access to opportunity, safe working conditions, fair hours and so much more. Yildiz Holding, a food manufacturing conglomerate based in Türkiye, gives an example of the difference that multi-stakeholder collaboration can make for women owned and operated businesses. A major frozen food brand, Kerevitaş, has joined a cooperative agreement with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture called ‘Women Stars of Agriculture’. Evidence suggests that around 40% of farm work was being done by women, much of it unregistered and unpaid on family farms. Kerevitaş and the Ministry of Agriculture have joined forces to empower women in farming, through financial support and consultancy. The project goal is that 5,000 tonnes of fresh produce will be purchased by female owned and operated farms by 2025, using sourcing and procurement to enhance gender equality in the supply chain. Empowering women and increasing investment into the agriculture sector, whilst allowing the government to register the previously unaccounted labour, with this decision having many benefits.  

L’Oréal Groupe, known predominantly for personal care and cosmetic products, give us another example of how partnerships are used to increase women owned businesses in your supply chain. With the wide range of products that L’Oréal sells, the raw materials needed vary from all over the world and span many industries. The products are often marketed towards women, with women making up the majority of their consumer base. So L’Oréal has launched a programme known as Solidarity Sourcing, which is to supply from only fair trade businesses, and those who employ minority groups or are women owned. L’Oréal is committing to 160,000 beneficiaries by 2030 under this programme, and by 2020 had already surpassed 80,000. The primary partnership for this programme is WEConnect International, who connects buyers with women owned suppliers.

Women entrepreneurs globally often start at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts. For reasons ranging from access to opportunity, capital, societal structures and more. But, women owned businesses have a lot to offer in terms of product, innovation, profit, networking and more. So it’s important to utilise and use the available help to connect your business to women owned suppliers and enhancing gender equality in the supply chain.

Find out more about the work done by Yildiz Holding and L’Oréal Groupe:

Written by Sophie de Bièvre