Comcast, Cox Communications Both Get “F” Grades in Greenlining Supplier Diversity Report Card
Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Utility, telecommunications and water companies regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission continue to report overall growth in contracting with suppliers owned by people of color, women, disabled veterans and LGBT people, reports The Greenlining Institute in its latest Supplier Diversity Report Card. Still, some companies lagged, and results for particular groups were decidedly mixed.
Key findings of the report, compiled from 2018 data reported to the CPUC in 2019, include:
- Comcast trails all other regulated companies in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises. Just 3.99 percent of Comcast’s contract dollars went to businesses owned by people of color, and its spending with businesses owned by women of color also ranked poorly at just 1.04 percent of total contracts.
- Verizon Wireless sets the standard for diverse spending, with $290 million (33.92 percent) of its spending going towards businesses owned by people of color — more than 10x the amount of Comcast on diverse suppliers.
- Although 37 percent of California businesses are owned by women of color, they got just 4.16 percent of contract spending in 2018.
Additional findings include:
- Most companies improved their percentage of procurement dollars spent with Minority Business Enterprises in 2018, with Verizon Wireless and Sprint topping the rankings.
- The cable industry continues to neglect supplier diversity, with Comcast (see above) and Cox both receiving grades of “F.”
- Spending with African American-owned suppliers was a mixed bag, with a few companies’ spending dropping sharply.
- Contracting with Latino-owned businesses increased at two thirds of companies, but overall levels remained low given the large Latino presence in California.
- Spending with woman-owned businesses remained relatively flat.
- Contracting with LGBT-owned businesses grew slightly but remained at generally low levels with a small number of exceptions.
“The groundbreaking supplier diversity efforts taken on by utility companies under the guiding principles of the California Public Utilities Commission’s General Order 156 have helped break the ‘old-boy network’ and create opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “We have seen that when commissioners make this effort a priority, it can generate unprecedented results. If our state is to remain competitive, regulated firms and their spending should reflect the demographics of our state.”
In 2018, the firms analyzed in Greenlining’s Supplier Diversity Report Card spent a combined $39.2 billion with outside contractors. Supplier contracts represent enormous opportunities for a wide variety of businesses owned by people of color and other marginalized groups and include things like construction, transportation, and business and legal services. Greenlining analyzed how much each company spent on Minority Business Enterprises (including African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American-owned companies) and women-, LGBT- and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Overall, the utilities spent a combined $9.2 billion on businesses owned by people of color, a slight improvement over 2017.
To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.