Altria’s Commitment to Supporting Black Businesses: Spotlight on Supplier Diversity

Jennifer Hunter, Corporate Citizenship & Chief Sustainability Officer, Altria Client Services

Altria is Moving Beyond SmokingTM, leading the way in moving adult smokers away from cigarettes by taking action to transition millions to potentially less harmful choices. A successful company is always evolving, and Altria represents more than a century-and- a-half of business innovation and sustained, disciplined growth.

At Altria, our vision is to responsibly lead adult smokers towards a smoke-free future, a commitment that is deeply ingrained in our values and operations. We champion inclusivity, diversity, and equity in all aspects of our business operations, and this is particularly evident in our approach to sourcing. We actively seek and partner with diverse suppliers, believing that strong, sustainable partnerships with our supplier base and trade partners are critical to our future success and the achievement of our vision. Central to this commitment is our focus on Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I). SD&I is more than a program; it is a strategic approach that drives our business forward. By actively seeking and partnering with diverse suppliers, we foster innovation, drive competition, and enhance supply chain flexibility.

By leveraging diverse suppliers, we can access a wide range of unique ideas, perspectives, and experiences, ultimately leading to innovation. This commitment to diversity and inclusion not only meets societal expectations but also contributes to a more equitable society. It extends beyond our internal operations and into our relationships with suppliers, partners, and the communities we live and work in and serve. Supporting a diverse value chain that resembles our adult consumers, culture, and communities is a vital component of our vision for a smoke-free future.

Altria has set a Supplier Diversity goal of at least 15 percent diverse spend by 2030. This goal reflects our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in our business operations. As part of this commitment, we are dedicated to increasing our expenditure with Black-owned businesses. In fact, in 2023 alone, Altria spent $19 million with Black-owned businesses. This commitment goes beyond merely meeting a target. It is about investing in the growth and success of Black-owned businesses and acknowledging their significant contribution to our business and the broader economy.

We partner with various national, global, regional, and local minority supplier development councils to provide opportunities for diverse businesses to connect with corporations and other business owners. They also certify diverse businesses and provide programs to promote mentoring, coaching, networking, and matchmaking with corporate partners. These partnerships not only provide diverse suppliers with opportunities to grow and succeed, but they also enable us to tap into a wide range of innovative products, services, and solutions that these suppliers offer. This enhances our competitiveness and ability to serve our consumers better. Altria strongly encourages diverse suppliers to be certified through national and regional supplier development councils, state agencies, and chambers of commerce.

As part of our commitment to positive impact that responds to changes in our communities, Altria also embeds racial, social, and economic equity into our community investment decisions. Since 2020, we have supported several charitable organizations working to equip business owners with access to capital and capacity-building support, especially in our headquarters community of Richmond,Virginia. For example, in 2021, we made a three-year investment in the Minority Small Business Launch Center at Virginia State University, a renowned Historically Black College and University. This Center is dedicated to supporting the self-employment rate of underrepresented business owners by providing a comprehensive suite of resources and supportive services. These include technical assistance, certification programs, and access to co-working spaces. Since its launch in 2021, this program has served 300 entrepreneurs and has been instrumental in the establishment of 40 new businesses.

In addition to our local initiatives, we have expanded our impact on a national level through strategic social-impact investments. In 2022, we became an inaugural investor in the Advantage Capital Empower the Change Fund, and in 2023 we invested in the Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund. Both funds are designed to drive social change and economic equity by providing patient capital and capacity-building support to inclusive ventures patient capital and capacity-building support for diverse suppliers.

Our commitment to supplier diversity and inclusive business opportunities is a testament to our belief that by partnering with diverse businesses, we can drive innovation, enhance our competitiveness, and create a more inclusive and equitable society. As we move forward, we remain committed to this journey and look forward to the opportunities it brings.

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