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Supplier Diversity

Materiality Assessment Topic: Supplier diversity

Issue Summary

A diverse supply chain enriches companies by bringing different perspectives, skills and ideas that enhance business success.

Our Position

Diverse businesses bring unique skills and fresh ideas, and they play a vital role in delivering the services, value and innovation necessary to serve our customers. By respecting and including different viewpoints, we are better able to serve our customers, employees and communities.

We are committed to promoting, increasing and improving the overall participation of minority-, women-, service-disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned business enterprises by purchasing their materials and services. We also encourage subcontracting opportunities for minority-, women- and service-disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses by requiring Supplier Diversity Participation Plans from prime suppliers.

Data Highlights

2016 Key Performance Indicators
  • Spend with minority, women, service-disabled veteran and LGBT business enterprises: $14.2B
  • Percent of total spend with minority, women, service-disabled veteran and LGBT business enterprises: 18.83%i

iExcluding content & programming, spend with minority, women, service-disabled veteran and LGBT business enterprises is 24.30%.

Our Action

Since 1968, the AT&T Global Supplier Diversity organization has connected certified diverse minority-, women- and service-disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned business enterprises with opportunities to provide products and services to AT&T around the world. Our program is structured around internal and external initiatives. We have managers dedicated to working with our sourcing teams and business units to identify specific areas of opportunity and include diverse businesses in competitive bids. In addition, AT&T’s robust supplier program ensures diverse suppliers are identified, considered and mentored during throughout the sourcing process.

Emerging technology has been critical to AT&T’s initiatives for the last several years, including in areas such as cyber security, broadband, mobility products and applications, distributed antenna systems, cloud computing and big data. All of these initiatives provide new opportunities for diverse suppliers. We believe diverse suppliers bring value to our company through their unique skills and innovative ideas, efforts to help us deliver world-class products and services to meet our customers’ diverse needs, and by improving our position in the communications industry as an innovative leader.

Our supplier diversity program is guided by 4 main outreach efforts:

  1. Collaborating and mentoring diverse suppliers to gain new business for AT&T or to grow existing business by providing key insights.
  2. Reaching out to suppliers through sponsorships and memberships with supplier diversity organizations, mentoring of diverse suppliers, educational workshops, scholarships and other venues.
  3. Utilizing our strong Prime Supplier program that focuses on encouraging and helping our prime suppliers to maximize their use of diverse suppliers as subcontractors. We not only track their use of diverse suppliers as subcontractors, we also request that prime suppliers provide an annual plan for use of diverse suppliers.
  4. Working closely with internal business partners to educate them on AT&T’s Supplier Diversity program and position diversity suppliers for opportunities within different business units.

Last year, AT&T executives and managers sponsored and/or participated in 126 supplier diversity outreach events and meetings. In 2016, we spent $14.2 billion with minority-, women-, service-disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned business enterprises, representing 18.83% of our total spend.

AT&T has established several supplier diversity mentoring and protégé programs.  

AT&T Executive Education Program

In 2016, AT&T continued to offer executive-level scholarships to diverse suppliers as part of our commitment to provide educational support to diverse-owned businesses. Our Executive Scholarship Program funds executive entrepreneur training at major universities. These scholarships target diverse-owned businesses, and in 2016, we awarded 5 scholarships to diverse-owned business executives to attend the training. This executive management training program educates attendees on the latest techniques on operational excellence through lectures and expert coaching on these topics:

  • Building capacity and sustainability for the future;
  • Adjustment of operations;
  • Improving company effectiveness;
  • Creating a strong business in a rapidly changing environment; and
  • Communicating company vision and inspiring the team. 

AT&T Prime Supplier Program

Since 1989, the AT&T Prime Supplier program has been instrumental in helping our prime suppliers increase the use of minority-, women and service-disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses in their supply chain. The AT&T Prime Supplier program has dedicated supplier diversity managers who collaborate with our Prime Suppliers to create detailed plans for utilizing diverse suppliers, set meaningful goals for utilization of diversity suppliers as subcontractors, and encourage development of innovative solutions for improving and tracking diversity results. The team also manages process improvements for monthly reporting as well as monitoring annual compliance results for the program.

In 2016, the AT&T Prime Supplier Program continued its focus on increasing both overall results and the number of contracts awarded to diverse subcontractors. 

Meet the Prime Matchmaker Events

In 2016, AT&T Global Supply Chain enhanced its support of AT&T’s Supplier Diversity initiatives. AT&T hosted a supplier conference with the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA, where AT&T’s executive leadership discussed the changes planned to the network and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. During the conference, AT&T hosted a matchmaking event to connect Prime Suppliers with diverse companies. Seventy-five diverse suppliers met with 20 AT&T Prime Suppliers in160 one-on-one meetings. These meetings led to several projected 2016 contracts.

At AT&T, all current and prospective diversity suppliers register through the AT&T Virtual Matchmaker On Demand (VMOD) matchmaking tool, a state-of-the-art software tool designed to increase diverse suppliers’ ability to position their company for subcontracting opportunities. Based on their capabilities, the company will be matched with AT&T Prime Suppliers for subcontracting opportunities. During 2016, 96 Prime Suppliers registered on the VMOD tool and an additional 419 Diverse Suppliers signed up. So far, there have been 100 meetings.

Primes and diverse suppliers can register and arrange a training through the VMOD, located at

For more information on our supplier diversity initiatives, visit

Updated on: Feb 7, 2018