EY Collaborations: Banking on diversity

How EY is helping to create a culture that values diversity both inside and outside our doors.

EY is one of the world’s leading professional services firms. Currently teaming with JP Morgan, it has a long commitment to increasing diversity in its suppliers, and helping clients do the same within their own organisations.

Theresa Harrison, EY’s Environmental Social Governance Services (ESGS) Leader, says the foundation for EY’s strategy comes from its overall commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI) within its overall organisation and culture. This is then followed by the leadership within its supply chain services. Harrison explains, “Our Chief Supply Chain Officer Larry Phelan is very dedicated to ensuring that we are providing opportunities to our diverse suppliers all across the globe.”

Harrison says a number of strategic policies and processes have been implemented to guarantee diverse representation among suppliers. “The first one is our global supply chain services policy that outlines our ESG. The policy states at a certain dollar threshold there has to be ESGS sign off to move forward with the RFP if no diverse suppliers are included.”  

Diverse supply chains

Making sure EY suppliers have aligned goals within their own supply chains is also imperative. To those ends, EY created its own evaluation criteria that examine RFPs, overall ongoing assessments, its vendor management scope, and how organisations can team together to really make a difference and an impact from an ESG perspective that includes DEI as well environmental targets. 

Harrison explains, “We're giving weighting in all of our specific RFPs, as well as our clients and those who we are actually developing from a client perspective on what their strategy should be, how should they evaluate their supply chain and what things should they look for in setting goals through our climate change and sustainability services practice.”

Catering to client demand

ESG has become a mandatory exercise across the industry, but it’s complicated and confusing – and making sure the right outcomes prevail is essential, says Michael Giarrusso, whose team works with EY clients to develop their third party risk management framework, processes, methodologies, and technology enablement.

“Our clients want to know what they should be doing to empower a diverse supplier base within their programmes,” he says. “They're thinking about how they can give opportunities to a different set of suppliers than they usually go to - and what are the roadblocks to making that happen.”

Communication is key, and Giarrusso explains that helping clients learn how to break down barriers, in terms of differing methodologies, is often the answer. “We've started to consult with our clients on helping to break down those barriers. It's something that motivates a lot of our people to work with our clients.”

Much of the success centres around leadership receptiveness, points out Harrison, who has been working within EY for 17 years. “I think it's the top priority on the CEO's conversation. It’s coming out on the scoring and how you can be a supplier, not only with our clients, but how you can be a supplier for us.”

Supply Chain Services goals

EY considers diversity as part of its DNA as an organisation and examines the landscape of suppliers to ensure diverse suppliers as a tier-one solution. Harrison says, “Our supply chain services(SCS) goals   are tied to our professionals' performance and participation within supplier diversity. It is really important for us to build this diverse ecosystem, not only for EY, but also from a client-serving perspective.”

She adds, “We've built a great foundation of the workforce and our people in DEI, and we've just taken that landscape and built it into our overall supply chain services as well. That foundation has led to EY  building programs and platforms  to build and accelerate the growth of diverse suppliers.”

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