“Buy Local, Go Global”
Over the years, many studies have suggested that investing in locally owned businesses benefits individuals and their communities. For obvious reasons, this is a smart economic practice because it creates more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provides better wages and benefits. It also encourages entrepreneurship, keeps dollars in the local economy and ensures innovation and competition, which can enrich the community as a whole. This is why Nielsen’s Supplier Diversity department recently launched their new initiative, “Buy Local, Go Global.”
According to the company’s Vice President of Supplier Diversity, Lamont Robinson, supplier diversity departments have historically been driven to increase spend on a national and global scale. “If you’re looking for mountain movers, obviously you’re going to go after national and global procurement opportunities. But what we fail to realize is that it’s those smaller opportunities that change the culture in the company.” Robinson understands that within true supplier diversity, businesses must have an awareness of growing the local economies for which they reside in.
Launched in their Los Angeles office in February, the “Buy Local, Go Global” initiative has two components. On the local level, it aims to spend with local diverse businesses and strengthen the partnerships with the local diversity advocates. This gives Nielsen an opportunity to work with the regional affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and several other diversity advocates. “It gives us an opportunity to connect with the local, smaller businesses and help them grow,” says Robinson.
The global aspect involves expanding the program in select global locations, to seek global partnerships and development for current diverse suppliers, and to increase internal awareness of supplier diversity on a global scale. “We’re able to tackle on a high level with the global piece and on a low level with the community piece,” says Lamont.
Nielsen definitely leads by example. Every time they kick off the “Buy Local, Go Global” initiative in a new city, they hold a lunch-and-learn session catered by a local, diverse business. During a recent session in New York, the executive assistant who made the lunch arrangements thanked Robinson for introducing them to the local caterer stating that they would likely use them in the future. “This is the result of the program we had,” stated Robinson.
In addition to the “Buy Local, Go Global” initiative, Supplier Diversity Manager Shirelle Magee says Nielsen is also increasing awareness of their diverse supply chain for their associates through the use of their database. The database will connect associates with local businesses, saving them time and effort as well as helping to increase spend with that diverse supplier. “We know that in our industry, we want sustainable opportunities. So, those same opportunities come along when we expand the access to this particular group,” says Magee. With over 10,000 associates across their offices globally, Nielsen is hopeful that they’ll see an increase at the end of the year.
The fact remains that committing to supplier diversity can yield a multitude of benefits. Nielsen’s new initiative maximizes this opportunity by tapping into local businesses—the real pillars of a prosperous, sustainable economy.