Delta leaders and our Supplier Diversity & Inclusion team recently headlined at this year’s National Minority Supplier Development Council  Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange. The forum, which was held virtually, created a space for diverse business owners, entrepreneurs and suppliers to make meaningful connections with large corporations like Delta.

A recent University of California study showed over 41% of business closures since the start of the pandemic have been Black-owned, despite Black companies making up less than 3% of total companies in the nation. As we weather the pandemic, Delta is designing a recovery strategy to help lift others along with us as we climb by fulfilling core business needs.

Delta’s Mike Medeiros, Vice President – Global Cleanliness, is seeking out minority-owned businesses to support a critical function for Delta moving forward: our work to develop a world-class cleanliness standard. At the NMSDC Conference, Medeiros represented Delta on the transportation panel, appealing to business leaders in the areas of UV, surface disinfectants and artificial intelligence.

“We need your ideas, your creativity, your entrepreneurial spirit,” Medeiros told the suppliers. “The innovation and resilience that minority-owned businesses bring to the table make you the optimal partners for Delta to build a key area of our business around. Supporting diverse suppliers isn’t just our social responsibility; it's a smart business strategy that drives results.”

Delta was joined by our partner Steve Hightower – President and CEO of Hightowers Petroleum Co., at the NMSDC Conference. Pioneering a historically underrepresented industry, Hightower is a key fuel supplier for Delta. In addition, Delta supplier Janice Bryant Howroyd – Founder and CEO of Agile 1, was awarded NMSDC’s Class IV Supplier of the Year. 

Equity and economic empowerment

In a recent article, Brookings noted that the most effective measures to close the racial wealth gap are starting a business or purchasing a home. Delta CEO Ed Bastian recently highlighted the airline’s focus on supporting Black-owned businesses as part of Delta’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. His commitments include:

  • Generating wealth in the Black community by further diversifying our Supply Chain and doubling our spending with Black-owned businesses by 2025, while seeking diverse business partners for Delta’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
  • Requiring each bidding and request-for-proposal process for new partnerships to include participation from minority-owned businesses, while introducing micro-development programs to identify and grow diverse businesses in underrepresented areas of our supply chain.
  • Evaluating every Delta contract to ensure suppliers are held accountable for anti-racism policies within their organizations.

Supplier Diversity & Inclusion at Delta

For over 20 years, Delta has been committed to a Supplier Diversity & Inclusion program as part of its mission to seek diversity, promote inclusion and create equity in the workplace and our world. Delta has set a goal of achieving Billion Dollar Roundtable status, a group of corporations that spend a verified $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers. Recently, the airline was recognized as Greater Women’s Business Council’s “Top Corporation of the Year.”

Learn more here about Delta's process to identify, develop, and do business with small-, minority- and women-owned businesses to maximize returns to Delta customers, shareholders and employees.