Partner in the Spotlight: UPS

By Sarah Jester

NGLCC Corporate Partners are dedicated to upholding the standard of diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) and ensuring that LGBT entrepreneurs have access to equal opportunities. This month, we’re proud to highlight UPS as a trailblazer in corporate supplier diversity, with a comprehensive supplier diversity initiative dating back thirty years. We spoke to Kris Oswold (she/her/hers), Vice President of Global Supplier Diversity at UPS, for more insights on UPS’ commitment to the LGBTQ+ business community and supplier diversity overall. Read the full Q&A below: 


Q: When did your supplier diversity program start and why was it important to your company to have one? To include LGTBEs? 

A: This year, UPS celebrates our 30th anniversary of Supplier Diversity. Back in 1992, we knew that investing in diversity was important, but we did not really understand how important this was to our business.  Today we know that LGBTBEs and other diverse-owned business bring outsized value to UPS as great suppliers. We also know that the strength and growth of small and medium businesses are critical to economic growth and the success of UPS, and diverse individuals are start more new businesses than the majority population. Our customers expect us to engage in Supplier Diversity and people are more likely to choose UPS as a place to work when they hear about our supplier diversity work.

Q: Can you tell us about your overall commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion?

A: To move our world forward, we must move our culture forward. A culture that provides an environment of equity, transparency, courage, creativity, and a sense of belonging. We’re continuously seeking distinct perspectives, experiences, and talents across our employees, customers, and suppliers to deliver what matters most. We strive to empower everyone to bring their authentic selves to work and inspire the inclusion of diverse people, thoughts and perspectives. 

[Our stated commitment to DEI includes,] “We know we can’t do it alone. We are better together. Stronger United. We are UPS.”

Q: What aspirations/goals do you have for your overall DEI efforts? For your supplier diversity efforts specifically? 

A: Touching the lives of over 540,000 employees, 13.5M customers and countless communities globally, UPS delivers social impact through our commitment to representation, employee engagement, volunteering and charitable giving.

[Our goals include:]

  • 28% women in full-time management globally by 2022
  • 35% ethnically diverse company management maintained
  • 25% of charitable donations from The UPS Foundation targeted toward underserved women, youth and marginalized communities
  • 1M volunteer hours dedicated to underserved Black communities 
  • Spend over a billion dollars with diverse-owned businesses annually

We also maintain individual spend goals for LGBTBEs, WBEs, Veteran BEs, Black and Hispanic-owned BEs, etc. Diverse-spend goals are established for each major spend category/vertical, and Supplier Diversity metrics comprise 20% of the department-wide Procurement Scorecard.

Q: If you have employee resource groups, please tell us about them. What are the ERG/BRG’s you have in place and what groups do they represent and support? 

A: At UPS we have over 180 BRG chapters around the world.  They celebrate and elevate UPSers who identify and support people in several categories.  including our Pride Alliance BRG, Hispanic/Latino/Crecer BRG, African American BRG, Asian American BRG, Veteran BRG,  Focus on Abilities BRG, Future Leaders BRG, Women’s Leadership Development BRG, Multicultural BRG, Women in Operations BRG, Working Parents BRG.

The NGLCC has had a great relationship with our Pride Alliance BRG nationally and in several cities.  Through its connection to the BRG and Supplier Diversity, the NGLCC supported the UPS Proudly Unstoppable Campaign and administered our LGBTBE grant program. In 2019 our Pride Alliance BRG was recognized as the winner of the BRG competition at the NGLCC National Conference. We will continue to find ways to grow our relationship.

How do UPS senior leaders speak to your desired DEI outcomes? To supplier diversity overall?

On her first day as CEO of UPS, Carol Tomé set the tone of her leadership: 

“No one is safe until we are all safe, and we know there is no place in any community anywhere in the world for racism, bigotry or hate.”

Carol has also set the tone for supplier diversity in particular:

“We believe supplier diversity is an important business strategy that brings value to UPS, our customers and our communities. We know that diverse suppliers will help UPS unlock new potential and foster innovation in our business as we move our world forward by delivering what matters.”

Q: Anything else you would like to share about your overall DEI practices or supplier diversity program specifically?

A: Our Chief DEI Officer is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and reports directly to the CEO, and she understands that if you care about DEI anywhere, you must care about it everywhere. That requires…a highly integrated approach to DEI that includes strong leadership from several departments, including Public Affairs, HR, Procurement, Marketing, and The UPS Foundation, and engagement throughout the organization.  

We…are still on a journey to shift our culture to be fully inclusive. Being led by one of the few female Fortune 100 CEOs, with a Board comprised of 46% women, and 31% ethnically diverse individuals, we are on the right track, but we are not done. We have more than tripled our spend with diverse businesses since 2017, but know there is much more work to do. We are not satisfied with the state of the communities where our people, customer and suppliers live.  At UPS, we are willing to do the work required to drive change in our organization and in the communities we serve, and we are thankful to have partners like the NGLCC to help us along the way.


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