2012 Best Companies for Diversity

McDonald’s exemplifies what it means for a corporation to truly value supplier diversity and demonstrates that commitment by expanding contracting opportunities and development programs with minority vendors. Such efforts are critical at a time when corporations are restructuring and consolidating their supplier base. As may be expected, those corporations with the largest minority procurement spend can be found on our list of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity. Other criteria for being on our list are expansion of senior management, composition of corporate directors, and employee recruitment and retention. In each area, some companies performed better than others. (See “How We Compiled the 40 Best Companies for Diversity.”)

Although several companies are expanding their diversity initiatives, B.E. Research found hundreds that aren’t. Scores failed to complete surveys or return calls from our researchers.

This year BE focused on supplier diversity, because winning contracts to provide products and services is the lifeblood of most businesses. Corporations spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year purchasing an array of goods and services from suppliers. Although diversity among suppliers has come a long way, it still has a long way to go.

In 2011, the more than 460 corporate members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council spent more than $100 billion with NMSDC-certified Minority Business Enterprises, or MBEs, up from about $63 billion spent in 2001 and nearly a six-fold increase from the $17.9 billion spent in 1991. Moreover, from 2009 to 2010, companies designated as Billion Dollar Roundtable members increased overall corporate spending with minority- and women-owned suppliers. Established in 2001 to recognize corporations that spend at least $1 billion with minority- and woman-owned suppliers, Billion Dollar Roundtable promotes and shares best practices in supply chain diversity.

Despite such progress, studies show that minority suppliers still have to fight for their fair share of corporate contracting dollars. When the office of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez released its Corporate Diversity Report in August 2010, it revealed that Asian-owned firms received 3.21% of total procurement dollars, Latino-owned firms won 2.69%, and African American-owned firms were awarded 2.58%. (The report uses data from a smattering of the nation’s 500 largest publicly traded companies that responded to the senator’s survey).

View the 2012 Best Companies for Diversity here.

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