Sodexo’s Commitment to Action: $1 Billion to Support Small- to Medium-Sized Businesses Across the World
By Rohini Anand
As a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) member, Sodexo is proud to support and grow local businesses around the world. I was proud to be at the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting this week, where Sodexo announced our commitment to purchase more than $1 billion of products and services from almost 5,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in 40 countries by 2017. We project this initiative will support 5,000 businesses, and more than 1,500 of which will be owned and operated by women, and impact more than one million people!
SMEs are key engines of growth and job creation in developing economies, where they account for between 60-70% of GDP and 70-95% of total employment. These enterprises provide a sustainable income for families and increase quality of life for the communities in which they operate. We estimate that the businesses Sodexo will be partnering with will employ 250,000 skilled workers in their communities. By promoting entrepreneurship and innovative SMEs in a global economy, both consumers and companies can benefit.
Through this partnership, Sodexo will be able to:
- Ensure greater diversity among our supplier base
- Gain access to innovative products and services
- Enhance community relationships
- Better serve the interests of our clients and consumers within the communities where we work
Guided by the Better Tomorrow Plan priority to strengthen local communities, Sodexo’s $1 billion commitment will expand business opportunities for SMEs through a variety of new measures and promote economic empowerment and diversity. Sodexo leadership will implement a supply chain inclusion program that will increase the number of SMEs the company works with, strengthen its existing SME relationships and increase purchasing from SMEs on a global basis.
Sodexo’s commitment to this program is broken down into a three-year timeline:
- Year 1: Develop local supply chain inclusion program guidelines and incentive program; expand tracking of SME sourcing to include women-owned and operated SMEs; create training program to help SME suppliers work more effectively with Sodexo and meet quality standards
- Year 2: Create SME supplier training resources; deploy resources to bring program to 26 countries; embed new standard operating procedures
- Year 3: Expand SME program to 14 additional countries where Sodexo operates; targeting operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America
By investing in small businesses and developing an inclusive supply chain, Sodexo can make a global impact in the local economy of many developing countries. Together we will improve the quality of life for over a million people around the world.
Rohini Anand is Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo.