Supplier Diversity Certifications:
    Learn the Benefits, and How to Become Certified

    diversity certifications

    The use of supplier diversity certifications is becoming more and more common with large corporations. Supplier diversity programs are a way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to building relationships with minority-owned businesses, as well as creating opportunities in diverse communities.

    Today we’re going to explore what supplier diversity certifications are, how they work, and why you should consider them for your company.

    What Is Supplier Diversity Certification?

    Supplier diversity certification is a way for companies to show their commitment to supplier inclusion. Certifications are awarded by an independent third party, such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Companies that meet specific criteria can become certified diverse suppliers and benefit from listing themselves on the NMSDC’s online directory of minority-owned businesses.

    How to Become a Certified Diverse Supplier?

    The first step in becoming a supplier diversity-certified company is meeting eligibility requirements. Businesses must be at least 51% owned or operated by one or more individuals who identify with an underrepresented ethnic group (African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino). Furthermore, they must have gross annual revenue of $100K minimum but less than $25M per year and provide goods or services that meet the needs of a specific industry.

    To become certified, organizations must complete an application and supplier diversity questionnaire. The NMSDC requires all applicants to provide detailed information about their company’s products, market share, number of employees, and other pertinent details in consideration for certification. Once approved as diverse suppliers by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), they are listed on its online directory.

    Businesses who want to be included in this database can go through a process called “certification” which is awarded by an independent third party such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Companies will have access to opportunities that might not otherwise be available if they were not part of this program.

    To get certified, a company must apply and go through the certification process. The NMSDC requires all applicants to provide detailed information about their company’s products, market share, number of employees, and other pertinent details in consideration for certification with its online supplier diversity questionnaire. Once approved as diverse suppliers by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), they are listed on its online directory.

    Supplier Diversity Certification Programs

    The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is a not-for-profit membership organization consisting of over 80% minority-owned corporations. The NMSDC offers supplier diversity certification programs to help businesses find qualified, diverse suppliers and vendors in the US marketplace.

    There are two types of supplier diversity certifications:

    o General Certification – offered for companies that manufacture products or provide services that meet certain criteria including at least one product with 50% gross sales from minorities/women and either a contract with five or more government agencies worth $50K+ per year OR an annual vendor base made up of 25% minorities/women AND companies performing work on public projects worth $25K+.

    o Public Contractor Certification – an annual certification for companies that manufacture products or provide services related to public contracts and government construction projects.

    Purchasing departments can use supplier diversity certifications as a tool in their purchasing decisions, helping them make informed choices about which diverse suppliers to purchase from.

    Why Diverse Supplier Certification Relates to CSR

    Supplier diversity is an important part of corporate social responsibility because it encourages businesses to create economic opportunities for minority-owned firms by promoting the utilization of qualified diverse vendors through supplier programs such as supplier diversity certification.

    To become certified, companies must meet the supplier diversity certification requirements for a specific program and provide proof of their diverse status.

    Some suppliers may not be able to supply direct evidence of being “diverse”, but they are encouraged to find other ways to show why they should receive consideration as an eligible supplier including by:

    – Demonstrating that minority firms have provided at least 50% of all goods or services furnished in the last three years;

    – Providing information on any initiatives undertaken in connection with outreach activities directed toward minority communities, such as providing scholarships through sponsoring events like Black History Month celebrations

    Supplier diversity certification can be used to demonstrate a commitment by the supplier for promoting economic opportunity for all people of color and their firms.

    Examples include:

    – Inclusion International’s Supplier Diversity Certification program; and

    – The National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) Corporate Commitment Program is tailored specifically for corporate partners committed to addressing supplier diversity issues within their companies.

    – Including certifications from one or more appropriate third parties which indicate that the company meets standards set by the certifying organization.

    Companies are encouraged to read the specific terms and conditions that pertain to each particular certification process before applying because they may not apply if you have been convicted of certain crimes or if you are not a company.

    Claiming supplier diversity certifications is beneficial for companies as it shows that they have taken the initiative to create an inclusive work environment and has hired minorities, women, veterans-disabled individuals in their supply chain management program while also investing in training minority suppliers on how best to compete.