By The COAST Reporter
Bamburi Cement (BC) targets to increase its total procurement spending on special groups such as women-owned businesses to 30 per cent by the end of 2025.
The company’s PLC, a member of the Holcim Group in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC) through the Sourcing2Equal (S2E) program, has embarked on a special training initiative targeting women-owned businesses to increase their participation in the procurement opportunities within its supply chain.
Speaking at the first training session that was attended by over 200 women, the BC-PLC country CEO Mohit Kapoor expressed intentional commitment to its Sustainable Procurement Agenda whose core element was to ensure diversity and gender inclusivity in access to procurement contracts.
“Many Women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) continue to face challenges while navigating local complex corporate value chains, due to a myriad of challenges like poor credit muscle and lack of information.”
“We are committed to providing a lasting solution that promotes equitable competition for supply contracts and desire to see this outcome both within Bamburi Cement and across the industry at large, which is predominantly male-dominated.”
The training program will include at least two training sessions this year and will be delivered jointly by BC-PLC, IFC and IFC’s training partner, WEConnect International.
The women business leaders will gain insight into BC’s supply system and supplier eligibility criteria as well as understand the procurement rules and procedures.
Bamburi signed the partnership with IFC in May last year (2022) with three commitments – to develop and implement a gender-inclusive sourcing strategy; to collect gender-disaggregated procurement data; and to invest in a targeted supplier outreach program that will raise awareness on procurement opportunities at the company among women-owned businesses.
A Kenyan-based women-owned businesses is qualified by 51 per cent ownership by a woman.
According to a Sourcing2Equal 2021 survey by IFC, despite 33 per cent of local SMEs being women-owned, only three per cent of procurement purchases go to them, with a majority participating as sub-contractors.
On the other hand, most companies do not have quality data to determine how many of their suppliers are women-led enterprises.
BC’s supply chain director Moses Were noted: “As a market leader, we will continue to scale up our efforts towards diversifying our supplier base so that it is more inclusive of women-owned businesses.”
“In this regard, we aspire to ensure that our total procurement spend that goes to special groups which include women-owned businesses, youths, and persons with disabilities, hits 30 per cent by 2025.”
“And from these training sessions, we hope that more women businesses will express interest in our supply chain to help us grow their share by 10 per cent.”
In March this year, Bamburi’s commitment to diversity and inclusion earned a prestigious award as the second ‘Most Inclusive Listed Company’ in Kenya, at the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards & Recognition (DIAR).
The award recognized several internal and external initiatives by Bamburi Cement, like workplace gender mainstreaming, disability inclusion, and youth accelerator programs.
The Sourcing 2 Equal (S2E) is a three-year program that aims to increase women’s participation in corporate procurement opportunities research, capacity building for WSMEs, and firm-level support for participating buyers.
IFC implements the program with funding support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WE-FI) and the Government of Norway.