At OSTC, we seek to work according to the highest ethical and professional standards and we take our responsibilities to our partners, our people, our suppliers and the communities in which we do business seriously. We are proud of our culture of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and Wellbeing, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which seeks to govern how we operate, how we interact with clients and each other, and how we participate in our local communities.
Our corporate strategy encompasses our commitment to D&I and Wellbeing. Our policies in the above areas set out our responsibility to promote inclusion, belonging and equity; to prevent discrimination and to provide a supportive and inclusive working environment.
Everyone, including contractors and anyone who works on site, prospective recruits and visitors will be treated fairly and with dignity and respect regardless of any of the following characteristics: age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, pregnancy, maternity and paternity, race, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment status, part-time or full-time status and union membership status.
We recognise that the influence of our business operations runs deeper than internal policies and practices, interactions with colleagues and office locations. We are aware of the indirect impact of our relationships with suppliers and contractors and have found collaboration and knowledge sharing to be the most successful driver of success in this area. To ensure that our suppliers share our values and commitment to D&I, ethical business, environmental sustainability, charitable work and community engagement, we have built and developed processes into our procurement and existing supply chain practices.
This Procurement Practices and Supply Chain Management guide is intended for organisations that want to build sustainable relationships with their existing and potential supply chain. It will help you to engage suppliers on D&I best practice, and to develop understanding about ethical standards. We hope this guide will support you to have meaningful conversations with the businesses that deliver to your people, clients and customers every day.
It is important to note that engaging with our supply chain in this way goes beyond compliance. It has enabled us to build better and more sustainable relationships with our suppliers, to understand more about their priorities and to collaborate and support them to develop their commitment to CSR & D&I.
To this end, we have implemented a process for potential and existing suppliers. We have found that suppliers understand the need to address both areas at the point of procurement and during the tendering process. Suppliers are competing for business and it is essential and not uncommon that they should understand our priorities. Many suppliers have come to expect questions and dialogue on D&I and CSR from the outset and it is an increasingly useful tool for organisations to learn about important issues affecting their suppliers.
We tailor our expectations depending on the type of business needed and the type of supplier involved. There is flexibility with smaller businesses, who may not have the resources, for example, to commit to community engagement work. Smaller businesses may need extra support. Therefore, a one-size fits all approach will not work, and flexibility is required and reasonably accommodated. However, this does not negate the supplier’s legal duties to have suitable policies in place or to sign a commitment letter expressing their support to OSTC’s ethos and approach to D&I and CSR.
We ensure that discussion about D&I is introduced at the beginning of our contact with potential suppliers. We want potential suppliers to understand that D&I is important to OSTC, therefore we require all tenderers to have a D&I policy.
For a small business or freelancer/contractor with inability to produce this, the alternative is to sign our commitment form, agreeing to abide by our own D&I procurement and supply chain standards. Our D&I policy explicitly refers to all protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender reassignment status. During this process we will check that the potential supplier’s policy meets the requisite standard.
Statement of intent
We believe that the performance of a supplier has a direct impact on the quality of products and services, and as such we select suppliers based on quality services; and value working with SMEs, women, and other diverse and underrepresented businesses, to build stronger communities and local economies, and also enhance our supply chain, maintaining both economic and social benefits. We know it’s important that a supplier base reflects the identity of our employees and communities in which we live and work and the economies in which we trade. We want to provide equal opportunities within our procurement process and ensure that diverse suppliers have access to opportunities through the supply chain of OSTC.
We want to have an inclusive procurement process that values equality of opportunity and can help us to better understand the needs of the supplier and the communities we serve. This will bring new/different ideas, flexibility and creativity to OSTC’s supply chain, giving us a competitive advantage while also supporting our sustainability efforts and those of the community.
Our key aims are:
- To support capacity building in our supply chain to allow all participants to effectively compete.
- Create a thriving marketplace enabling access to competitive sources for supplies and services.
- To promote an environment web – procuring from diverse suppliers makes good business sense.
- Ensure diverse suppliers can participate in procurement tenders in equitable terms.
- To better understand and support our customers and our communities.
- Be an active and relevant player in the communities we support and of which we are apart.
- Support wider economic growth in relevant local and international markets.
Diverse Suppliers – Objective
By supporting the development of diverse suppliers and helping others in our supply chain to do the same, we can enhance the economic and social benefits that a more inclusive and equal procurement process delivers. Providing support to underrepresented groups and businesses from these groups who do not currently provide services to OSTC, will help to ensure that as many businesses as possible meet our selection criteria, increasing diversity of a supply chain.
Definition of a Diverse Supplier
A diverse supplier is a supplier who is either owned or operated by an underrepresented group and/or reflects the values and composition of the communities of which it is a part of.
Supplier diversity not just through its ownership, but through its staff, ensuring that the service is provided by a diverse workforce, encouraging representation of this across all levels of the business.
Examples of Diverse Suppliers:
- Women in business enterprises – a business that is certified as 51% women owned, operated, and controlled when possible or recognised as majority women owned, operated and controlled.
- Ethnic minority business enterprises – same as above.
- Disabled business enterprises – same as above.
- LGBTQ+ business enterprises – a business that is certified as 51% lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender owned, operated and controlled, where possible or recognised as majority LGBTQ+ owned, operated and controlled.
- Small & medium enterprises – a for-profit organisation or entity defined as a SME by local or national government authorities. Definitions of a SME vary from country to country.
- Social enterprises – approved organisations that work to address a social need where profits are primarily reinvested into the community or back into the business.
Depending on location, there may be other under-represented groups who would be considered as diverse for the purpose of this guide, for example, veteran-owned businesses, or suppliers located in areas of particularly high economic disadvantage.
We are also of the view that the list above is not exhaustive and that a diverse supplier is not just limited to one who is owned or operated by a minority group, rather one that is diverse in nature across all management levels and departments. One that supports and recruits in a fair and equitable manner people of all metrics of diversity and shows a commitment to inclusion and equity through its actions not just its words. A supplier that is reflective of the society they are from.