Disney views supplier diversity as a strategic imperative and a critical part of our overall commitment to diversity and inclusion. Over the last few years, a steadily increasing number of minority and women-owned companies has won more and more business from Disney and we're now recognized as a travel and entertainment industry leader in this area. Today, supplier diversity considerations are woven into all phases of our standard sourcing process for the billions of dollars in products and services that Disney contracts globally every year.
Supplier Diversity Process
Disney recognizes that ongoing efforts must be made to include diverse suppliers in our sourcing activities. As such, we have a companywide Supplier Diversity and Sustainability team that undertakes the following tasks:
Many of our sourcing professionals hold leadership positions in minority and women business organizations. These include directorship positions at minority business development councils in Southern California and Florida, where Disney has the bulk of its operations. Last year, Disney was recognized as "Corporation of the Year" by the Women's Business Enterprise Council West, the Southern California Minority Business Development Council and the Florida Minority Business Development Council and as "Entertainment Company of the Year" by the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce.
Last year, minority and women-owned businesses competed for, and won, some significant contracts at Disney and are now supporting the effective operations of our Company. These include staffing agencies that provide temporary employees, a firm that links the many geographic areas of Disney by providing conferencing technology, companies that provide post-production services for our creative content and the foodservice company that supplies meals for our cast members at Disneyland.
Supplier Diversity Projects
Disney's Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Team has launched two notable initiatives that are creating opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses and helping Disney to meet our own diversity spending goals.
The first is an effort to increase the base of suppliers in the broadcast and production areas of our business. Last year, Disney and the National Association of Broadcasters co-hosted the first ever supplier diversity event at NAB's national convention in Las Vegas. The event and other efforts by our team led to contracts with four newly identified, diverse production services companies for an incremental spending increase of $5.4 million.
Our Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Team also launched a mentoring program for qualified diverse suppliers as they gear up to bid for Disney business. Mentoring newly identified diverse suppliers helps to shorten their learning curve and improves their performance in the bidding process. Last year, a pilot of the new program engaged seven minority and women-owned construction firms, leading to an incremental $4.1 million in spending with these diverse suppliers. We are already engaging more potential suppliers in this process based on the successful trial.
Last year, with more than 5,000 minority- and women-owned businesses, we spent a record $428.5 million, an increase of 13.1% over the previous year. Increases in spending on professional and marketing/media services were the largest contributors to the change.
In 2008, Strategic Sourcing and Procurement expanded their focus from supplier diversity to include sustainability and a sustainable sourcing professional was added to drive the formalization of our activities in this area. As a result, we developed and began introducing an Eco-Scoring template that assesses and compares suppliers' environmental impact during the sourcing process. During 2009, we will use this template as a supplier self-assessment in an effort to measure our supply base environmental impact and monitor changes going forward.
Additionally in 2009, we plan to develop and implement a sustainable sourcing process that integrates consideration of environmental concerns into the sourcing process. We will begin to capture baseline information in order to monitor improvement starting in 2010.
Our primary challenge continues to be the difficulty in finding minority and women-owned enterprises large enough to provide for our global requirements. The diversity of our businesses and our geographical spread requires that our suppliers be able to support many locations and different business priorities. While this is a challenge for all of our suppliers, it can especially be difficult for smaller, privately-held businesses. Our Supplier Diversity and Sourcing teams work closely with qualified diverse suppliers to ensure they understand and can comply with these requirements.
We are optimistic that their low overhead structures and smaller size will enable our diverse suppliers to be even more successful at winning business in the current economic environment, however, we realize that with reduced spending there are also fewer opportunities.
In the coming months, our Supplier Diversity and Sustainability team is expected to help identify diverse supplier candidates for more than 150 sourcing initiatives. The team will continue its work in expanding the mentoring program and expanding broadcast and production opportunities for diverse suppliers. They are also working to ensure that qualified minority and women owned businesses have the opportunity to compete for construction and related contracts in the enhancement of Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, California. Further, the team is expected to hold workshops for diverse suppliers on Disney's move towards more environmentally-friendly building practices.
Supplier diversity will continue to be an important focus area for The Walt Disney Company. We will continue our work in the broadcast and production categories and enhance our mentoring program by developing workshops that educate and inform diverse suppliers about leading business trends.
For more information or to get involved in our supplier diversity program, please visit Supplier Diversity.