Zions Bank aims to bring more diverse businesses to its supply chain

Zions Bank has launched a supplier diversity program aimed at bringing more diverse businesses to its supply chain. The program helps identify businesses as owned by people in traditionally underrepresented groups — including minorities, women, LGBTQIA individuals, veterans, and people with disabilities — that may be able to offer products and services needed by the bank.

“Banking is a local business, and to be successful we must be representative of the communities we serve,” said Zions Bank president and CEO Scott Anderson. “This program levels the playing field so more businesses can successfully compete for Zions Bank procurement opportunities.”

To be included in the program, businesses must complete an online registration and company profile. Qualifying businesses are then added to a supplier database, which is made available to supply chain managers. The database raises the visibility of diverse vendors — including existing vendors like Salt Lake City-based catering company LUX Catering & Events.  Because LUX is more than 51% owned and operated by individuals who identify as LGBTQIA, it qualifies to participate in Zions’ supplier diversity program.

LUX managing partner Chris Sanchez, who identifies both as gay and LatinX, says support for supplier diversity is a benefit not only to his family and his small business, but also to the larger economy.

“Promoting the inclusion of these under-utilized entrepreneurial groups allows for new ideas and creates a unique business community filled with innovation and competition,” Sanchez said.

He hopes other businesses will follow the example of Zions Bank and others in opening business opportunities to people of different races, genders and sexual orientations, creating a more balanced and confident market.

“Corporate America can be a champion for equality and diversity when they demonstrate their true commitment through not only external practices but also internal practices and policy,” he said. “It requires the full and transparent commitment of a company to be true to the community it belongs to.”

Anderson adds that supplier diversity programs bolster economic development. “Utah already has a very diverse economy, and the next step is for business leaders to establish processes that connect traditionally underserved business owners with new opportunities,” he said.

To participate in the supplier diversity program, a business must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by individuals in the following groups: racial/ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQIA individuals, veterans, or people with disabilities. Participation requirements and online registration and are available through the supplier diversity webpage.