If you take a look around the US today, you see a lot of division, hurt and hardship. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has placed hardship on all of us — from physical to emotional to economic harm. Add in the civil unrest and division from last summer’s protests in the States and it’s enough to leave one feeling powerless to make change.
A few months ago, Spend Matters’ Founder Jason Busch collaborated with Daryl Hammett, a leader in supplier management, and proposed the idea of how procurement can help empower diverse suppliers and small businesses. They specifically talked about the role leadership plays in promoting diversity efforts through supplier inclusion.
But it’s not enough to rely solely on businesses and procurement to do their part. It’s about how individuals can make a difference too.
In a new follow-up paper, Busch and Hammett advocate that real change can come from neighborly procurement — which focuses on the tangible steps you can take as an individual to help promote economic growth and well-being for your neighbors.
Neighborly procurement is about being generous of heart. It includes seeking out small businesses, stores and restaurants owned by those who may look like you — and those who might not.
It may be an inconvenience or slightly more expensive to go out of your way to the non-chain grocery store or mom-and-pop shop. But it’s a remarkably easy (and feel-good) step if you want to to make a difference.
“The pandemic has made us prioritize convenience over community,” Busch and Hammett write in their paper. “Rather than go to the local hardware shop, vegetable/fruit stand, butcher, shoe store or children’s clothing shop, we can go to a single ‘big box’ seller and get everything under one roof. Or simply ‘Amazon’ an order to our doorstep. Granted, this was a trend that started long before the pandemic, but recent months have accelerated this behavior.”
Busch and Hammett propose tips on diversity efforts for individuals that can help them make a difference, not just for themselves, but for entire communities. And they show how even small decisions — for example, those you might make every day without even consciously thinking about them — can have big impacts that improve the world.
They previously challenged companies and executives to drive supplier inclusion. And now they challenge you, the individual, to spread your dollars to spread the love and bring us all closer together, one spending decision at a time.
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