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Supplier Diversity Best Practices for 2024 with Constellation Energy

Constellation Energy’s Andre Wallace and team have built a successful supplier diversity program that supports the business and uplifts the community, preparing them well for the challenges of 2024.

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Andre Wallace, VP of Business Diversity at Constellation Energy, recently had an enlightening conversation with Supplier.io, covering best practices for supplier diversity in 2024. As Constellation Energy is the number one producer of carbon free energy in the United States, Wallace has a unique and applicable perspective for all supplier diversity leaders.

As the supplier diversity industry looks toward the rest of 2024, there are several challenges and possibilities ahead. We recently spoke with Andre Wallace, VP of Business Diversity at Constellation Energy, to unearth complexities and examine strategies that will propel supplier diversity into the future.

1. Prioritize Data Accuracy and Utilization

“Data accuracy is, no doubt, paramount,” Andre Wallace emphasized, signaling the critical role of precise, reliable data in steering the direction of supplier diversity programs. In an era where data guides strategic business decisions, having actionable data enables organizations to adapt, innovate, and remain competitive.

Wallace also mentioned that data needs to connect firmly to an organization’s purpose. “If we’re going to have the data, what is the thing the data is driving us toward?”

To ensure data is being utilized, Wallace and his team began incorporating what they called “business advocates.” These advocates are people within the business who attend a monthly forum hosted by his team. They function as his team’s eyes and ears, helping them get the word out, set aspirational goals, and implement influential behaviors throughout the organization.

2. Provide Context for the Business Value

Wallace discussed how context isn’t usually understood, let alone provided to business leaders and executives, so supplier diversity leaders have a massive opportunity to educate stakeholders to drive real change. “Foster an environment of economic inclusion that does what? It actually drives top- and bottom-line growth, it drives innovations, it drives competition, and it helps stabilize our supply chains,” Wallace said.

He invited attendees and their organizations to view supplier diversity not just as a compliance or ethical commitment, but as a core strategic advantage. Constellation Energy recently received an economic impact award from Supplier.io for supporting over 20,000 jobs with its supplier diversity spend via its platform.

3. Partner with the Business, Strategically

“We’re not supply, we’re not the business—we’re the connector,” Wallace said in regard to his team’s approach. Supplier diversity teams should help bridge the gap between suppliers and businesses, approaching their efforts with the motto “Integration, not separation.”

Wallace stated that it’s important to be proactive during planning to ensure that diversity efforts are aligned with long-term business goals, making diverse suppliers integral to the initiatives and setting the stage for sustained growth and innovation.

Wallace and his team take their business plan to suppliers and use a database like Supplier.io to identify gaps and issues. He emphasized that when you’re able to merge business, supplier diversity, and suppliers together—that’s when you’ll see the real value. 

4. Plan Further in Advance

Supplier diversity teams need to work with the business to understand what their long-term plan is. This collaborative approach not only amplifies the impact of supplier diversity initiatives, but also embeds them into the operational and strategic core of the business.

“Our job is not to give business to diverse suppliers. Our job is to make sure people have the opportunity to share and show what they’re capable of,” Wallace said. His team looks for suppliers in 110 categories, identifying what’s most important in the next 12-24 months. The more runway he gives himself, the more equipped he can be, and the more opportunities he can seize.

5. Plan for ESG

Constellation Energy has an interesting perspective on ESG. Wallace shared that they’re in the business of diversity, which is the same thing as the integration of ESG, supplier diversity, DEI, and workforce development. “When you put those together, they drive value.”

Wallace was quick to re-emphasize his belief that supplier diversity can improve the environment and society, all while driving business value. To support sustainability, finding a clean energy partner like Constellation Energy can be extremely helpful.

Conclusion

In 2024, supplier diversity leaders need to not only understand the “why” of supplier diversity, but also find ways to get buy-in and commitment from leadership. It’s essential to build an ecosystem of relationships with business counterparts. Data is the key to identifying gaps and opportunities that have real business impact. By embracing these best practices, supplier diversity leaders can craft a future where diversity and inclusion are not just strategic imperatives but the very engines driving business success and innovation into 2024 and beyond.

Check out the full conversation with Andre in this recent webinar

Download the full Best Practices for 2024 Report here

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