Johnson Controls South Africa has taken a front seat in promoting sustainable supplier diversity in the country, as one of the founding members of the newly formed South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC).
The SASDC is a corporate-led project where council members are tasked with actively pursuing ways to bring more black suppliers into their supply chains, as well as investing time and resources into mentoring and improving the capacity of these suppliers to meet the required level of standards within the member organisations.
"Johnson Controls is one of only 17 US firms in the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a group of companies that spend $1-billion or more each year with certified women- and minority-owned suppliers," explains Derek Jack, regional sourcing manager for Johnson Controls South Africa.
"As a result of this commitment from our head office, the influence and value of supplier diversity has spread across the globe, and we are part of various diversity organisations across the world. We would like to honour and mirror those values in South Africa and so decided to play a leading role in the founding of the SASDC."
As part of its mission the SASDC will aim to open up procurement opportunities to minority enterprises by promoting greater economic integration and participation as a national priority to create sustainable supplier diversity amongst corporate South Africa. By going beyond the codes laid out by broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) through the SASDC corporates will help to create procurement space for new entrants, generating supply chain competition and fostering closer relations with minority businesses.
"The challenge in South Africa is maintaining the right balance, especially for large multinational organisations, by applying often stringent global supply chain strategies while at the same time committing to the values of supplier development and the BBBEE empowerment pillars," says Jack. "We need to uphold our global multinational strategy and, in parallel, to identify enterprise development initiatives where we can partner with smaller, promising suppliers that do not have a national or global footprint yet but are looking to improve their business knowledge, and have the potential to grow."
Johnson Controls joins the likes of Absa, Barloworld, De Beers, Unilever, Standard Bank and Rand Water in forming the council.