Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced on March 15 that the company achieved another record year of spending with more than 570 diverse business enterprises in 2021—at $972.6 million, the highest in company history.
In doing so, SoCalGas exceeded the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) goal of 21.5 percent for the 29th consecutive year by procuring over 42 percent of total goods and services from women, minority, service-disabled veteran, LGBT and small disadvantaged businesses, and increased spend with African American vendors by 49 percent. Over the last five years, SoCalGas has spent $3.9 billion with diverse business enterprises.
“SoCalGas is proud to have worked with over 570 diverse suppliers in 2021,” said Jeff Walker, chief administrative and diversity officer, and senior vice president at SoCalGas. “Earlier this year, we released our Sustainability Strategy, which includes achieving 45 percent spend with diverse business enterprises by 2025. In partnership with diverse firms and community partners, we can help California implement clean energy solutions at scale and achieve our ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals, which includes achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and delivery of energy by 2045.”
SoCalGas has also made a commitment to increase African American supplier participation and growth over the next five years. Key to these efforts will be working with organizations such as the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC), which advocates for African American-owned business enterprises and provides a variety of programs and services to assist in their growth and development.
“SoCalGas creates pathways for underserved small businesses that have not traditionally had access to opportunities,” says Gene Hale, chairman of GLAAACC. “They also help guide us in removing obstacles and challenges small businesses face.”
Despite 2021’s global health and economic crisis, SoCalGas increased its focus with community-based organizations to promote its supplier diversity. In addition to spending with diverse enterprises, SoCalGas also invests in the development of these firms. Development opportunities include business boot camps, mentoring events, business assessment programs, entrepreneurship courses, organizational and operation strategy programs, mentorship and technical assistance. The programs are designed to help diverse suppliers enhance their operations and help ensure success in their business partnerships.
“SoCalGas has been an important wind under our wings and our ability to employ more people,” said Christine Halley, president of Cornerstone Engineering, a woman-owned firm that supports SoCalGas on several engineering projects. “It’s impressive how purposeful the company is in its outreach to minority businesses. They take it seriously. The feeling we walk away with is SoCalGas is invested in our success. When others in the marketplace hear we’re a trusted supplier of SoCalGas, it heightens our reputation.”
Other 2021 highlights include:
- $640 million spent with minority-owned businesses (category includes both minority men and women-owned)
- 42.42 percent total purchases with diverse suppliers
- 105 new diverse partners added
- 13 firms among the top 25 SoCalGas suppliers are diverse firms
- 91 percent of suppliers are based in SoCalGas’ home state of California
In addition to its supplier diversity efforts, SoCalGas supports social impact by aiming to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and the communities it serves. The utility is positioned to be an industry leader in racial and ethnic diversity representation in leadership roles and is taking actions to enhance the presence of women in leadership roles and the overall workforce by 2025.
SoCalGas also plans to invest $50 million to positively impact diverse and underserved communities over the next five years.
Last month, SoCalGas announced its proposal for the Angeles Link, which aims to be America’s largest green hydrogen infrastructure system. The utility plans to continue its best practices in supplier diversity and identify opportunities for diverse suppliers as it looks to achieve its net zero goals and advance California’s clean energy and climate goals.Tags: California Public Utilities Commission, Diversity, Green Hydrogen, SoCalGas