When Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a leading sustainable energy company and member of the Iberdrola Group, launched its expanded Supplier Diversity Program last year, its aim was to proactively support small and diverse suppliers and ensure the company’s supply chain reflects the customers, communities and economies that it serves. While this goal has not changed, several bonus benefits are emerging—including that the program has become a pathway to creativity and innovation.
“Innovation thrives in inclusive environments,” said Pedro Azagra, Avangrid CEO. “Small and diverse businesses are agile and can bring fresh ideas, innovation and more flexibility as a business partner. This is one of the reasons that we value building strong relationships with diverse suppliers and are taking proactive steps to provide purchasing opportunities to these businesses to maximize their representation in the procurement process. Our Supplier Diversity Program demonstrates that we’re committed to being one of the most sustainable, socially responsible and diverse energy companies in the country.”
Avangrid’s Supplier Diversity Program promotes an inclusive environment through equitable and competitive business practices that strengthen the participation of ethnic minority-owned, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, veteran-owned, people with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex individuals (LGBTQI+) owned businesses in the company’s purchases of goods and services. A shining example of the creativity that often accompanies diverse suppliers is Avangrid’s new partnership with McNDT Pipeline, a woman-owned small business that specializes in nondestructive testing and American Welding Society-Certified welding inspections.
Avangrid uses McNDT’s services to perform gas pipeline inspections in new construction or upgrade projects to ensure there are no anomalies and that the projects are meet quality standards. What makes McNDT unique is that they use digital radiography to complete the inspections. This is similar imaging technology used in healthcare, but its application in pipeline inspection is a recent advancement in the industry. McNDT has a digital radiography mobile unit that can be brought right to the inspection site and produce images in minutes. This is vastly faster than traditional inspection methods, which could take twice as long.
The Avangrid and McNDT partnership began thanks to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s National Conference. Avangrid’s Director of Sustainability & Supplier Diversity, Dominick Manno, met McNDT Vice President Amanda Young and asked to learn more about her business. Fast forward to today, McNDT has completed hundreds of critical inspections for Avangrid’s subsidiary Connecticut Natural Gas which serves 184,000 customers in central Connecticut and Greenwich.
“Supplier diversity programs have been absolutely vital to our business and our growth,” said Young. “As a small, woman-owned business, we have unique challenges. Often in our industry, networking is done informally at a job site, so we missed a lot of opportunities. The Women-Owned Business Certification and working with supplier diversity contacts has given us a seat at the table. I love meeting people like Dominick who are passionate and committed to exploring opportunities to find where our business can fit.”
Avangrid has established ambitious goals over the next three years to increase supplier diversity spend to $300 million in 2025. It plans to do so by building awareness within its purchasing community, growing Avangrid’s external presence and visibility, continuing to review best practices in Supplier Diversity and engaging with certifying organizations to aid in building strong relationships.
“Our Supplier Diversity Program not only supports diverse businesses, but it also allows us to invest in the communities where we live, work and serve,” said Manno. “These programs create lasting impacts in local communities by creating economic and employment opportunities. I’m very proud of our work and our vision for the future. To see a business like McNDT through the procurement process—from stopping by their booth at a conference all the way to finding the perfect fit for their services at Avangrid and seeing them win an award—shows our commitment to grow the supplier diversity program.”
About Avangrid: Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $41 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs more than 7,500 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2023, Avangrid ranked first within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2023 for the fifth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A.
For more information, visit avangrid.com.