Achieving gender equality in your sourcing and procurement practices happens step by step. Achievable and realistic goal setting is the best way to move your company, and supply chain, towards equality. Setting SMART goals for gender equality will be beneficial for your business and those employed in your supply chain. Business benefits include aligning with stakeholder expectations, legal compliance, achieving KPIs and being able to better monitor your supply chain. As well as increasing transparency, as elaborated on in our previous blog


SMART goals are becoming a more commonly practiced way for businesses to establish goals. The acronym SMART stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound. 

Being specific is important in goal setting, think questions like; what is being done? Who is responsible for the action? What steps need to be taken to accomplish it? 

A goal like ‘achieve gender equality’ is too broad, maybe focus more on goals like;

  • Have at least three women owned businesses in your supply chain.
  • Source only from suppliers that have clear policy on sexual harassment.
  • Ensure you are sourcing from suppliers who provide a living wage for their employees.

That way you can assign responsibility to a procurement team or the people who select suppliers to factor in these specific goals. 

The next aspect is measurability, being able to quantify and monitor your goals. Achieving gender equality could mean many different things, and there are many ways to measure it. Measurability will allow you to track your progress and know when these goals have been achieved, and when it’s time to write new ones! Quantifiable goals such as how many women owned businesses are in your supply chain or how many women are being promoted or trained into leadership/management positions. 

Setting achievable, realistic and optimistic goals will allow for them to become a reality. Abolishing all gender discrimination from your sourcing and procurement is not a realistic goal within a realistic timeframe. But there are aspects of gender equality that you can control within your supply chain. As the buyer, you control who you supply from, so starting with goals about the businesses that you supply from is a good step. As well as implementing internal and company wide policies and practices to promote a commitment to gender equality.  

Relevancy is the next step in SMART goal making. This is especially important in this context, as supply chains are extremely variable. Every industry has different sourcing practices, and one supply chain could source from many different places. Using context based on your industry, and the challenges that arise from it, as well as taking into account contextual factors like culture and the law. Goals for a food based supply chain might be tailored to sourcing from women owned farms. Whereas goals for a garment and textile based supply chain might be tailored more towards providing management positions to women in production. Setting goals that are relevant to your specific supply chain is key.

Finally, time-bound goals. In accordance with all the SMART steps, being time-bound is about creating accountability, responsibility in a realistic time frame. Hitting achievements within set amounts of time will keep you, and your team, accountable for the objectives that you have created. That way you can keep track of your progress, create new and relevant SMART goals for gender equality in your supply chain.