Diversity presents an inherent paradox. Studies show that diversity adds tremendous value to group interactions, and each of us embodies diversity in our own unique way, yet our human brains don’t intuitively value diversity. It takes intentional, inclusive behaviors to create a supportive community experience where individual diversity is appreciated.
As outlined in our 2020 ESG Report, our DEI program is focused on three core areas: People, Products and Purchasing. These core areas are evolving via a four-pronged framework that ensures concurrent progress in our metrics, processes, educational initiatives, and the programmatic elements that we’re putting into place to support long-term success in each of the three areas.
Our leadership’s commitment to supporting this holistic approach is one of the ways in which Clearway differentiates itself as a company. There are too many organizations that emphasize education and programs without building the metrics and processes that undergird long-term success. DEI initiatives must be tracked, measured, and deeply embedded in our organizational processes to ensure that they deliver real, long-term results.
With support from employees across all levels of the company, Clearway has made significant strides in its DEI work over the last 18 months. We grew our network of Employee Inclusion Groups to seven, and they meet regularly to discuss matters of interest to their members. These groups are having meaningful impacts throughout the Clearway enterprise, not only by advocating for programs and policies that will support their constituents and colleagues alike, but also by piloting and providing input on various initiatives before we take them organization-wide.
For example, in 2021 our Women’s Inclusion Group piloted a mentorship program that used a survey to pair participants based on where they were in their career and how they wished to develop professionally. The five-month pilot was extraordinarily successful and received a 98% satisfaction rating. Perhaps more importantly, it also offered insights as to where we might shore up resources to expand this program more broadly across Clearway, including providing more support for mentors. A six-month mentorship program will be launched company-wide in 2022 and will seek to match people across functions, to develop, network and grow across the organization and break down silos.
We also introduced our “Onboarding Buddy” program, which is comprised of volunteers from our EIGs and administered our Allies Inclusion Group. The program helps bring new employees into the organization in an inclusive way and gets them plugged in to a supportive community – which is particularly important in today’s virtual environment when we’re not passing one another in the hallways. A key benefit of this program pertains to retention – research has shown that people make decisions about whether they see themselves having a long-term future with an organization within the first 60-90 days of employment, so helping new team members feel like they belong in the critical early days is very important to us.
Another major initiative launched in 2021 is the establishment of our Sustainable Supply Chain policy, including our supplier diversity policy and standards. Data collected from our suppliers allowed us to determine that a significant percentage of our vendors are small and/or diverse-owned businesses. However, a defining characteristic of the equipment-intensive renewable energy industry is that a high percentage (~80%) of our expenditures by dollar amount are made to a very small number of suppliers.
Ways in which we’re using this information to create a more sustainable supply chain include:
- Encouraging our vendors to hire from small, local, diverse-owned organizations in the communities where we do business
- Providing our vendors tools to make it easier for them to get third-party certified as diverse-owned organizations if they have not already done so
- Providing advantageous payment terms to our smaller suppliers to help them manage cash flow
In 2022, we will continue our efforts to make Clearway more resilient and responsive to the needs of its key stakeholders, including investing in talent development and training for managers to foster more inclusive behaviors and effective leadership. We’re excited about the progress we’ve made on DEI issues thus far and look forward to advancing our achievements related to this vital aspect of sustainability.