All sectors have unique challenges when it comes to gender equality. In some industries, the workforce is predominantly made up of women. Textiles, for example, have a very high density of female labour. The majority of these women are often low skilled, low paid, have little education and very few leadership opportunities. On the other hand, industries like tech have very few women at all. When creating and maintaining relationships with your suppliers, you can work with them to improve gender equality in their organization through supplier development programmes. This collaboration can be mutually beneficial for both your business and your supplier. 

So to move forward with your SDGs and improve your supply chain processes, supplier development programmes are essential. Supplier development is the process of working with suppliers to enhance their gender equality scores, on a one-to-one basis, with the goal of improving their performance. As part of this process, you co-develop and implement a detailed plan of action, along with a timeline by which they should implement each change. As part of the programmer you can offer support in the form of training and resources. With the specific industry needs there’s no one-size-fits-all supplier development program that applies to all buyers and vendors. That’s why you need to work with each of your suppliers on a one-to-one basis and create a plan that’s achievable and mutually beneficial to both parties. Firstly, analyze your needs and your supplier’s shortcomings and select the right KPIs to track their progress. Then, rate the supplier using these KPIs and prioritize actions. Develop a plan for addressing issues. This can mean regular face-to-face meetings, visiting the factory, training, implementing new processes, etc. Implement your plan and keep track of progress being made. This process can be repeated for all your suppliers!

Why is this important?

With progressing human rights due diligence legislation in Europe and around the world, there is a higher emphasis on gender equality (as a core human right). By using supplier development programmes you are able to integrate gender-related targets with relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to global sustainability and compliance to new legislation.