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Delta Air Lines is Looking for Black-Owned Businesses to Support COVID-19 Cleaning Program

Delta Air Lines is Looking for Black-Owned Businesses to Support COVID-19 Cleaning Program

Despite black-owned businesses making up just 3 per cent of companies in the United States, a University of California study has shown that they’ve accounted for 41 per cent of total business closures since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In comparison, around 17 per cent of white-owned businesses have been forced shutter for good during the same period.

The reasons for the disparity are varied, including the fact that many black-owned businesses lack access to credit and because many of these businesses are micro-entities with smaller financial savings to see them through the crisis.

Some observers believe the “demise of so many black-owned businesses this year also highlights the legacy of racism in America”. But even as the pandemic devastates its own business, Delta Air Lines is hoping to build a recovery strategy that lifts up black-owned businesses according to chief executive Ed Bastian.

Bastian recently laid out three commitments to support black-owned businesses with a big push to further diversify the Atlanta-based airline’s supply chain. By 2025, Bastian says Delta will have doubled its spend with black-owned businesses.

New supplier partnerships will also require bids from minority-owned companies, while the airline says it will introduce a micro-entity program to help build up smaller businesses.

And it’s in Delta’s CareStandard response to the COVID-19 pandemic that the airline believes is ripe for partnership with black-owned businesses. Mike Medeiros, vice president of the recently created Global Cleanliness division says his department is specifically seeking out minority-owned businesses to develop a world-class cleanliness standard.

“We need your ideas, your creativity, your entrepreneurial spirit,” Medeiros told suppliers at a virtual conference of the  National Minority Supplier Development Council.

“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,” Medeiros continued.

It’s probably worth mentioning that this strategy isn’t something new. In fact, Delta has had a Supplier Diversity & Inclusion program for over 20 years. And make no mistake, Delta stands to gain from this strategy. As Medeiros explained: “Supporting diverse suppliers isn’t just our social responsibility; it’s a smart business strategy that drives results.”

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