AT&T expands its Supplier Diversity program

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AT&T broadens the reach of its Supplier Diversity program. (Pixabay)

AT&T announced on Wednesday that it has extended the reach of its Supplier Diversity program through a "preferred supplier designation."

The preferred supplier designation prioritizes companies within AT&T's supplier chain that embody diversity as a core value. AT&T also announced it was aligning its Supplier Diversity program with philanthropic and innovation efforts across the company via its AT&T Believes program. AT&T Believes is a larger, company-wide program that aims to create positive changes in local communities.

Earlier this month, AT&T launched Believe Los Angeles by committing $1.6 million to nonprofit organizations focused on education, workforce development, career readiness programs, and entertainment and digital media employment opportunities.

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AT&T said it expanded how it defines success with its Supplier Diversity program. By the end of 2020, the company will announce not only its spending with diverse suppliers, but also the number of jobs held by diverse individuals, which includes disabled veterans, minorities, woman and LGBTQ employees, within its supplier base.

"Earlier this year we made a commitment to drive $3 billion in spend with black suppliers in the U.S. by the end of 2020. We've established an Executive Advisory Council made up of prominent black business leaders to assist us in reaching this goal," said Susan A. Johnson, executive vice president – Global Connections & Supply Chain, AT&T. "With our renewed supplier diversity 2020 commitment, we will continue to develop creative solutions and work closely with all suppliers to foster economic growth and innovation within the communities we serve."

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The program's focus on the economic growth of diverse companies and communities is comprised of three pillars:

• Diverse supplier spend and utilization

• Diversity job creation and force impact

• Diverse business fostering, advocacy and 'tier 2' supplier growth.

AT&T said last year's 2018 diversity spending was $700 million higher than the previous year. In 2018, the program grew to almost 700 diverse suppliers, and accounted for over $15 billion, or 27%, of the total spend—excluding content and programming spend—with diverse suppliers for the year. The results exceeded AT&T's 21.5% target.

Overall spending with women business enterprises (WBE) and minority business enterprises (MBE) increased with Tier 2 diverse supplier performance a leading driver. 

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