Verizon is deeply committed to sustaining a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within our company and the communities we serve. We have made significant investments over many years in workforce diversity, a corporate culture of belonging, and programming and outreach in the communities where we operate. We view DEI as more than the right thing to do—it is a source of strategic business value for Verizon.
Being committed to DEI means recognizing that our work is never done, and that we must engage in continuous learning, listening, and growth to keep making progress. To support us in this process, we invited a respected third party to undertake an assessment of our DEI practices. Accordingly, last year we announced that we were undertaking an equity audit conducted by Covington & Burling LLP and led by former Attorney General Eric Holder. The audit assessed Verizon’s ongoing areas of DEI focus, including our workplace DEI policies and initiatives as well as our impact on fostering DEI in the broader community through our Citizen Verizon, stakeholder and community engagement, supplier diversity and responsible marketing initiatives.
We said we would be transparent in sharing the audit results. Today, we are pleased to publish Covington’s full audit report. The audit process, which was overseen by our Board of Directors, provided us with an important opportunity to reflect on our successes and challenges in fostering DEI in our internal workforce and externally in the communities we serve.
In its report, Covington recognizes Verizon’s approach to DEI as a top level business consideration, consistent with our long-standing commitment to DEI. Highlights from the report include:
Verizon’s leadership is committed to DEI and has built DEI considerations into companywide programs and processes, in a way that extends responsibilities for DEI across all levels of the organization and to all employees. The company’s shared responsibility framework for DEI elevates the importance of DEI as a business imperative and has enabled Verizon to make significant progress across all of our DEI initiatives.
Verizon has adopted practices and initiatives that further diversify our workforce and improve the inclusivity of our work environment. These practices and initiatives cut across the entire employee life cycle and embody Verizon’s core principles to “attract,” “develop,” and “inspire” diverse talent. Examples include focused diversity recruiting efforts, sophisticated leadership development programs for diverse talent, and efforts to foster an environment where employees feel connected to Verizon’s company and culture, including through robust and well-supported Employee Resource Groups.
Through Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s plan for corporate social responsibility, we have provided over a decade of innovative learning opportunities and $1 billion in contributions to support digital equity and inclusion, including by working with nonprofit partners to help students and teachers develop digital skills.
Verizon’s long-standing Supplier Diversity program enables the company to meaningfully support diverse businesses in communities. Verizon’s supplier diversity goals are ambitious, and we have often met or even exceeded our targets. For example, in 2022, Verizon set its diverse supplier spend target at $5.5 billion, which we exceeded with $6.8 billion in diverse supplier spend.
Covington also offers important suggestions for how we can further grow our work and impact, including by increasing collaboration across our internal and external DEI initiatives, making enhancements to anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and employee resources, and strengthening some of our internal processes for monitoring DEI initiatives and tracking progress over time.
The report was informed by extensive input from employees responsible for leading Verizon’s DEI efforts, representatives from Verizon’s Employee Resource Groups, and leaders from the civil and human rights communities. We greatly benefited from hearing the views of these stakeholders on how we can continue to work to enhance our DEI efforts.
DEI is at the heart of Verizon’s values, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion both within our own company and in the communities we serve. We look forward to incorporating the learnings from this audit into our ongoing DEI efforts.