New Report Card: Contracting with Minority Businesses Grows but Some Companies Flunk
California Utility/Telecom Contracting with Minority Firms Reaches $5.7 Billion

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – California’s utility and telecommunications companies spent $5.7 billion on contracts with minority-owned businesses in 2015, but this generally strong performance was distinctly uneven, The Greenlining Institute reports in its latest SupplierDiversity Report Card. Comcast, for example, did less than 10 percent of its contracting with minority-owned businesses, earning a D- for minority contracting.

The Supplier Diversity Report Card will be released publicly Sept. 14. Journalists can preview it now at the link above. The report card assigns letter grades to individual companies for their performance in multiple contracting categories, and includes analysis and recommendations aimed at increasing contracting opportunities.

“Driven by smart California policies that promote contracting with diverse businesses, many of these companies do as much as 30 percent of their contracting with firms owned by African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders – leading the nation in diverse contracting,” said Greenlining Institute Energy and Telecommunications Policy Director Stephanie Chen. “This creates jobs and opportunities in communities that too often get left behind, but the uneven performance between companies shows there’s still work to do. Given the growing role that tech and green tech are now playing in the utility sector, it’s clearly time for those companies to step up to the plate.”

Key findings include:

  • The top spender in dollars spent with minority business enterprises was Pacific Gas & Electric, spending $1.6 billion in 2015 with MBEs, or 28.36 percent of its total 2015 procurement. Sprint had the largest percentage of MBE procurement at 30.82 percent ($406 million).
  • California’s supplier diversity leaders remain best-in-class, but momentum seems to be leveling off.
  • Generally speaking, procurement with African American, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander and women of color-owned businesses leaves ample room for improvement.
  • The most successful companies employ several common best practices, such as including supplier diversity in procurement decisions from the very start and providing focused capacity-building, technical assistance, and mentorship support that help suppliers get better at what they do best.