What small suppliers need to know about inclusion and diversity

Citi has focused on supplier diversity since the 1970s, said Javette Hines, the company's head of supply chain development, inclusion and sustainability.

"But as we globalize, we want to make sure we have a more inclusive title and role," she said. That is why the word "inclusion" was added to her job title in 2016. "It's 'inclusion,' not diversity, because it makes us inclusive of all diverse aspects" of the communities that Citi serves,  such as Aboriginal people in Canada and Afro-Brazilian populations in the U.K., she said.

Smaller suppliers also need to adapt to a globalized customer base, so Citi is open to teaching not just its suppliers, but even those working with other corporations, to both serve different populations and to weave their experience into long-term sustainability strategies.