Borden Inc., the $3.4 billion foods and chemcial company based in New York, has discovered an unusually successful procedure for boosting its purchases from minority-owned businesses.
According to Borden chairman and chief executive Augustine Marusi, his firm employs a traditional free enterprise incentive - bonuses.
"We give bonuses for good work at the end of the year, in terms of performance in procurement of goods and services from minority firms," Marusi said yesterday.
And since the program began three years ago, Borden's purchases from the minority business sector have jumped from $3 million a year to $22 million.
"You have to spell it out and sound as if you really want it to happen, with rewards if you do and penalties if not," Marusi said in describing what business executives must do to increase inority purchases.
The Borden officer was speaking to reporters here yesterday, at a news conference called to detail increased purchases by business from minority firms in recent years.
But the data made public yesterday showed that minority businesses have only a miniscule portion of the economic pie, despite the gains.
According to Marusi and outgoing Under Secretary of Commerce Sidney Harman:
U.S. corporations and institutions will buy some $1.8 billion of goods and services from minority-owned firms this year, compared with $1.2 billion last year and $86 million in 1972 (the first year for such data).
In 1979, the goal for such purchases is $2.6 billion and, by 1980, $3 billion - a total that matches President Carter's goal of purchases by federal agencies from minority firms.
Combined business and government purchases equal a fraction of one percent of total business receipts in the current $2 trillion-a-year U.S. economy.
[SOURCE OMITTED] bers and 38 regional minority councils across the nation.
A year ago, the council had no corporate members and Marusi said he wants to double membership in the next 12 months. Member firms are required to have a written policy governing minority purchases and to report aggregate dollar purchases.
Based on recent surveys, the purchases of goods and services from minority firms are increasing at a rate of 24 percent a year, the Borden executive said. Marusi recalled yesterday that he is on record with a call or private enterprise to demonstrate "its performance and public accountability in this effort" by next year or he will testify in support of government quotas and reporting systems.
"The minority business owner needs and deserves assistance in order to enter the mainstream of commerce and industry. If he or she does not get that assistance from the private sector, they must turn to government," he declared.
A list of National Minority Purchasing Council corporate members distributed at the Commerce Department yesterday listed many of the nation's largest firms, such as Aetna Life, Boeing Co., Coca-Cola, Du Pont Co., Ford Motor, International Business Machines, New York Times Co., RCA Corp and Westinghouse.
The only Washington area companies on the list are the law firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn and United National Bank, a rapidly growing, minority owned D.C. institution.