This year, three companies exceeded 30 percent procurement with minority-owned businesses. In addition to the overall strength of 2018’s results, companies spent a combined $39 billion with businesses owned by people of color, an $8 billion increase over 2017.
While these results are impressive, several companies report internal pressure to reduce or eliminate their supplier diversity programs. In the face of leadership changes, budget cuts, shifts in corporate strategy and other internal changes, the benefits of supplier diversity remain relevant and necessary in the 21st century global economy.
Companies that report strong support from executive leadership and concerted efforts to include diversity at all stages in the procurement process continue to show strong results. In particular, companies that embrace supplier diversity best practices demonstrate strong results in traditionally underutilized categories. These industry leaders show that strong performance and consistent progress are, in fact, possible and set a strong example for their reporting peers.
It is particularly encouraging that 2018 saw overall strong results at a time when the energy and communications industries underwent significant shifts in the landscape. Utilities have grappled with the emergence of more community choice aggregators online1 and serving customers, as well as more frequent, larger, and more devastating wildfires across the state; these changes in the energy landscape raise necessary questions about the electrical grid’s reliability, affordability, and resiliency. Wireline and wireless companies have experienced a shift from regulation at the federal level to regulation at the state level, which may result in those companies having to adjust their business models in response to state-level regulation. Despite these challenges, many of the companies in those industries maintained or increased their supplier diversity spending