By Melissa J. Anderson

This month the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility released its annual corporate index measuring Hispanic inclusion strategies at companies in the Fortune 100 (as well as HACR members). According to the report, only 42 companies participated in the survey. 72 refused to participate.

The report showed that companies have come a long way in D&I strategy as it pertains to Hispanic employees, but, as HACR President and CEO Carlos F. Orta noted, there is still quite a way to go. He said, “While our community has experienced tremendous growth in population and buying power over the last two decades, the Hispanic community has a long way to go before we reach market reciprocity and inclusion across all levels.”

He continued, “The 2010 HACR CII is an important tool because it provides corporations with the ability to measure Hispanic inclusion strategies and where areas of opportunities exist.”

Notable Effort

Orta noted a number of important developments in his opening letter to the report. For one, he said, “Efforts to attract and retain Hispanics have improved. The Hispanic attrition rate fell to around 15% as compared to other ethnic groups.”

On the other hand, corporations are not working as hard as they could be to reach out to Hispanic suppliers. He wrote:

“Corporate America continues to underutilize Hispanic suppliers. Hispanic contractors that were awarded business in 2009 only received on average 1/5 of total dollars awarded in contracts when compared to other suppliers. The report uncovered that the allocations by companies for Hispanic spend goals hovers at 1% of total diversity spend goals, thus 99% went to other suppliers.”

Report Findings

One area in which employers are shining, according to the report, is the area of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). According to the study, over 95% of respondents reported that they do have an ERG/Affinity group and an executive champion leading it. Only 4% of respondents had neither an ERG or executive champion.

On the other hand, the report notes that companies can do much better in utilizing Hispanic owned suppliers. It says:

“According to the 2010 HACR CII survey, a total of $3.57 billion dollars was spent in contracts to over 6000 suppliers; however Hispanic suppliers received on average only $90,000 with just 112 suppliers receiving contracts for services.”

Finally, the report covered Hispanic representation in the boardroom, which it said, was simply “inadequate.” The HACR found that in the Fortune 500, only 44% of Boards included a Hispanic individual. “Latinos represent over 15% of the U.S. population, with an estimated purchasing power of nearly $1 trillion,” the report indicates. More must be done to increase boardroom diversity.

“The HACR Research Insitute studies suggest a direct, positive correlation between board diversity and corporate financial performance. It is believed that board nominating committee charters, or the equivalent, should encourage consideration of diversity in terms of background, experience, age, race, gender, ethnicity and culture.”