Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 2022


Increasing support for suppliers and promoting diversity, CBRE

Sponsored by: Jones FM

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 2022

By transforming its procurement practices and processes, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) has boosted its support for UK suppliers from underrepresented communities by 325% in the past year.

CBRE GWS, a provider of facilities management, project management, advisory and transaction services to owners and occupiers of commercial real estate, spends more than £1 billion a year on goods and services. But it was in 2019 that the organisation began to transform its procurement practices to deliver greater value to underrepresented communities in the UK. It did so through its Supplier Diversity Programme, led by the Procurement Team and underpinned by technology.

Results gleaned

In 2021, CBRE GWS increased its spend with diverse suppliers by 325% – up from £5.2 million in 2020 to £22.1 million – spent across:

  • social enterprises – £19.6 million
  • ethnic minority businesses – £1.3 million
  • women-owned – £960,000
  • veteran-owned – £95,000
  • SMEs – £470 million.

Additionally, it aims to increase the £22.1 million to £45 million in the UK by 2023. Globally over the next five years, the company will spend $3billion with diverse suppliers within five years.

The company has:

  • increased the number of approved diverse suppliers by almost a third
  • helped smaller, diverse firms gain the knowledge and skills to enter the marketplace
  • built awareness of the importance and benefits of an inclusive supply chain in the wider B2B environment
  • committed to joining the Billion Dollar Roundtable, which requires companies to spend at least $1billion a year on first-tier minority and women-owned suppliers.

Best practice learning

CBRE GWS identified several key learnings from its EDI initiative.

The power of working with advocacy groups – helped to build the Supplier Diversity Programme and provide ongoing support to improve and expand the programme.

The importance of opportunities for smaller, diverse suppliers – they are up against established tier-one partners and need support.

The value of partnerships – celebrating the success and talent of its suppliers and enabling GWS’s teams to hear suppliers’ stories helps all stakeholders engage with the programme in a more personal and real way.

Key quote

‘We all want to feel like we’re doing something meaningful. If we know we can funnel spend to option A or to option B and they will give you the same outcome, but one will significantly change another person’s life, it’s a no brainer. But people must understand they have a choice and see the impact they’re making. Through the Supplier Diversity Programme, that message has come to life – it’s changing the way we work and strengthening the relationships we have with our clients and communities.’ – UK COO Conrad Dean