Sodexo Recognized at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting for Supporting Small to Medium Size Enterprises with $1 Billion in Purchases of Products and Services By 2017

Sodexo Commitment to Action in support of SMEs has a global reach that touches 40 countries and includes support for woman-owned and operated businesses and other diverse suppliers
Sep 22, 2014 2:30 PM ET

GAITHERSBURG, Md., September 22, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Sodexo announced its official Commitment to Action at the 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York today. The commitment supports the growth of small to medium sized enterprises (SME) with a pledge to purchase products and services totaling $1billion by 2017. The Commitment to Action aims to benefit as many as 5,000 small businesses in 40 countries including the U.S., with 1,500 of those businesses being women owned and operated.

There are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. which account for 54 percent of all sales in the country. When companies effectively integrate SMEs into their supply chains, the benefits for those companies, the SME owner and the communities in which they operated can be significant.

“Small and medium sized enterprises are key engines for growth and job creation,” said George Chavel, president and CEO, Sodexo. “They account for 60-70 percent of GDP and 70-90 percent of total employment according to a global economy study by the OECD. Increased support for SMEs means greater support for local communities and access to innovative products and services for businesses and their clients.”

Sodexo’s Commitment to Action to invest $1 billion in 5,000 small to medium size businesses is projected to generate more than 250,000 jobs over the next three years. The first year of the Commitment to Action will focus on developing local supply chain inclusion program guidelines, including incentives for supply management teams to engage with SMEs, enhanced tracking of SME sourcing and the development of tools and resources along with guidance on streamlining the integration of SMEs into the Sodexo supply chain.

During the second year of Sodexo’s Commitment to Action it will create SME supplier training resources for deployment. The deployment of tools and resources will augment existing programs in 26 countries. It will begin to embed new standard operating procedures that include all the necessary elements for a successful SME program.

Finally in the third year, the new SME program will roll out to 14 additional countries where Sodexo operates. It is currently targeting operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

One third of the world’s SMEs in the formal sector are currently run by women, with wide variation across countries, leaving plenty of room for growth. Sodexo will, for the first time, expand tracking mechanisms to identify women-owned SMEs around the globe, something that will allow the company to better understand sourcing patterns and opportunities to work with new and existing suppliers. It will also work with WEConnect International, which helps women-owned businesses succeed in global value chains.  WEConnect will specifically work with Sodexo in supporting women-owned businesses in targeted countries including UK, Canada, Australia, Peru, Chile, and India.

In addition to women-owned and a variety of other SMEs, Sodexo’s commitment will also benefit small agricultural enterprises. It will continue its work with intermediary organizations and cooperatives in efforts to expand opportunities for local suppliers. Examples include Sodexo’s work as far away as Laos where we purchase rice from a group of 500 small farmers who are participating in rice cooperatives and as close as the third generation family-owned and operated Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland, just a short drive from Washington, D.C.

“When large organizations, companies like Sodexo, make a commitment to smaller operations or smaller farmers, that money goes directly into the small farmers household, it’s going into paying for his children’s education, upgrading equipment on his farm and it gives him the ability to grow his business,” said Russell Shlagel, owner Shlagel Farms. “It’s a win-win for everybody. It’s a win for the farmer and the community. It’s a win for the large company because it gets the fresh local products that are in such high demand by today’s consumers.”


About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at


Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Life Services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $22 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at Visit Sodexo on Facebook and follow on Twitter @SodexoUSA.