A magazine that rates companies on their policies toward procuring supplies from African-American vendors has given National Grid a "Best of the Best 2011" award, the utility said in a news release Thursday.
National Grid is the only utility on the East Coast to win this year's award, said the magazine awarding the honor, Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal.
The journal publishes stories about jobs, career training and higher education scholarships and grants for African-Americans.
National Grid, which delivers electricity to about 3.3 million customers and natural gas to about 3.4 million customers on Long Island and elsewhere in the Northeast, said this is the first time it has been named to the list.
Black EOE Journal said it gave National Grid the award after a "confidential comprehensive review of their diversity plan and policies," the journal said.
"In 2009 National Grid moved to make supplier diversity a priority by enhancing our program through our outreach and training to creating powerful partnerships with diverse suppliers," said Tom King, president of National Grid U.S., said in the utility's news release.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the magazine and a tribute to our efforts to make significant improvements in our supplier diversity program in a short period of time."
National Grid said that since it revamped its supplier diversity program in 2009 it increased to about $250 million its spending with minority and women-owned suppliers; it did not say what percentage increase that $250 million represented.
National Grid said it also added about 750 "diverse suppliers . . . to the company's data base, including a significant number of certified minority and women-owned businesses. In addition, the company encourages prime suppliers to award ten percent of their contracts to diverse suppliers."
National Grid said it has partnership agreements, aimed at increasing contracting opportunities, with numerous minority business associations including the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Asian Women in Business, Association of Minority Enterprises of New York, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, National Minority Supplier Development Council, National Veteran-Owned Business Association, and Disabled Veteran Owned Business Network,
National Grid also has a new educational sponsorship pact with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce and its School of Management.