Fostering diversity

By Martin Graham

Diversity in the workplace is vital to success. A BCG study found a significant correlation between management team diversity and overall innovation. Companies with above-average diversity scores report nearly 20 percentage points higher innovation revenue, or earnings from new products and services launched over the past three years, than those with below-average diversity scores (45% vs. 26%). However, companies often struggle to maintain diversity levels across an organization, particularly along their supply chain.

As a proud visible minority-owned business, diversity is embedded in our company’s history. In 1972, the Nanji family, including Founder and Group Chairman Hanif (Chiko) Nanji – were exiled from Uganda and made a new home in Montreal, Canada.  Now, almost 50 years later, Metro Supply Chain has flourished under Chiko Nanji’s leadership to become a leading contract logistics partner with many of the world’s leading brands in Canada, with operations in Europe and the United States. 

This month, Canada recognizes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour the survivors of residential schools, those who never returned home and the families and communities still affected by this tragic history. As a Canadian-founded company, Metro Supply Chain is educating ourselves about Indigenous issues and collaborating with Indigenous communities nationwide.

A new partnership

Valuing our diverse workforce and focused on ways to support other minority-owned businesses, we have aligned with the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) and its more than 1,500 suppliers and 90 corporate and government members registered in their directory, all of whom are committed to a diverse and inclusive supply chain. Founded in 2004, the council facilitates the growth of Indigenous and minority-owned businesses.

After embarking on the accreditation process earlier this year, we are proud to announce our official CAMSC diverse supplier certification.

To improve the diversity and inclusivity of our own supply chain, Metro Supply Chain has also become a corporate member of CAMSC, which will allow us to directly connect with certified Indigenous and minority-owned businesses. This membership will also help us prioritize advocating for Indigenous inclusion within businesses and participate in CAMSC Corporate Member Forums.

Furthering Indigenous businesses is important to our economy and building a more inclusive country. According to Export Development Canada (EDC), there are more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned companies contributing nearly $50 billion annually to the Canadian economy (Census Canada, 2020).

Meaningful change

In June 2022, the National Indigenous Economic Strategy was launched as a guide for government, communities and corporate entities to embark on a path to economic Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This important living document, developed by more than 20 Indigenous organizations, contains 107 Calls to Economic Prosperity, and it is our goal at Metro Supply Chain to fulfill as many of those Calls as we can.

Since late 2021, our company has provided warehousing and transport solutions to businesses serving eastern Indigenous communities. In providing service to remote and Far Northern Indigenous communities, we also indirectly partner with several Indigenous-owned subcontractors to ensure quality service and extended reach. 

CAMSC will enable us to partner and forge deeper ties with additional Indigenous majority-owned businesses. Another organization making a difference in Indigenous economic development is the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando), an Indigenous-controlled non-profit that advocates for strengthening Indigenous economies. CAMSC and Cando are working together to help remove barriers for Indigenous companies by completely covering the cost of becoming a CAMSC member for a set number of Indigenous majority-owned businesses each year. This will give them access to the numerous benefits of being a certified diverse supplier, which include building brand awareness, connecting with corporate members and strengthening their business acumen. As we acknowledge the pain Canadian policies, institutions and attitudes have caused Indigenous peoples over the years, it is important for businesses to forge a new path forward. It is only through inclusion and collaboration with Indigenous organizations that true diversity can be achieved – and Metro Supply Chain is committed to doing our part.