22 minutes | Feb 16th 2021

#19 Why more companies are working with Indigenous suppliers - Mick O’Loughlin, ARA Indigenous Services; Laura Berry, Supply Nation; Robin Burton, JLL

Large organisations are increasingly working with Indigenous suppliers in Australia to woo customers making decisions on social values rather than just the bottom line. Governments and major companies including ANZ Bank, Medibank and Australia Post are among groups using their buying power to deliver social change. This is a stark shift from a decade ago, when many firms would have dismissed Indigenous businesses as contenders for facilities management and other building services contracts. The number of Indigenous-owned businesses is growing as a result. Registrations of businesses at least 50-percent owned by Indigenous people grew 180 percent between 2017 and 2020.  One high-profile benefactor is Mick O’Loughlin, a former footballer for the Sydney Swans, in Australia’s Aussie Rules AFL league. He’s also the founder and managing director of commercial cleaning business ARA Indigenous Services. “Growing up we were always waiting for funding to come from somewhere to play sport with other communities, but as a business owner now I can just say ‘we’re sponsoring this and everyone gets a jersey, everyone gets a netball uniform’. We work extremely hard, but nothing makes me more proud to be able to do that,” he says.Hear from O’Loughlin, Laura Berry, the chief executive of non-profit Supply Nation, and Robin Burton, senior supply chain diversity and sustainability specialist at JLL, as they chat to Perspectives podcast host Rebecca Kent about why working with Indigenous businesses is climbing to the top of the corporate agenda.
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