In my post last week for International Women’s Day, I mentioned ExxonMobil’s efforts to expand and diversify our value chain. I have asked ExxonMobil Global Sustainable Procurement Manager Nancy Swartout to offer more information on those activities.
For more than 40 years, ExxonMobil has invested in women business owners – harnessing their expertise and talent to expand and strengthen their businesses, and help them contribute to economic development across the globe.
Diversity is a cornerstone of our competitiveness—a point that is just as true for our supply base as it is for our workforce. For decades, ExxonMobil has worked to recruit and enhance women’s development throughout our global value chain. Doing so helps us create efficiencies, strengthen global operations, and innovate to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
Research tells us that accessing a diversified supply base that includes women allows companies to draw from a larger talent pool, stimulate more competition, lower costs, and increase shareholder value through brand enhancement and recruitment. We all know from our own work experience that when you avail yourself of more options and more ideas, there is a greater opportunity for business excellence.
A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute drives this point home with data we cannot overlook: they estimate that hiring women-owned businesses could add $25 trillion to global GDP by the year 2025. This is a win-win proposition.
In countries where oil and gas development is new, we work with host governments and communities to identify opportunities for local suppliers. And, we go one step further by ensuring opportunities for women in our workforce as well as in our supply chain.
Why? The answer is obvious – how can any business succeed by ignoring half of the world’s consumer base and potential business partners? We put a premium on identifying and developing top talent. That’s why for years we have collaborated with organizations like the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and WEConnect International to partner with best-in-class women-owned businesses around the world. In fact, on International Women’s Day last week, I participated in a WEConnect women’s supplier conference in Lagos, Nigeria, sponsored by ExxonMobil.
We invest in training and equipping women-owned businesses for success – providing them with the tools to grow and compete in today’s global marketplace. In 2016, we spent approximately half a billion dollars with over 2,000 women-owned enterprises in our global supply chain.
Supporting women-owned enterprises – even those that will not become direct suppliers to us – makes good business sense as they inevitably benefit communities where we live and work. Research shows us that women help build stronger, more stable communities around the world. Women invest in education and health care, and they help drive critical economic growth and development. This multiplier effect of prosperity created by women has real implications for the future of our workforce, global operations, and growth strategy.
This is one case where everyone wins.
Nancy Swartout is global sustainable procurement manager for ExxonMobil.