Powering Equity, Now and in the Future

By:Tom Werner

June 16, 2020

Black Lives Matter

In the wake of the brutal and senseless death of George Floyd, the SunPower leadership team and I have taken stock. We’ve done a lot of listening – to our employees, dealers, customers, advocacy organizations and thought leaders. This period of introspection, while prompted by something despicable and tragic, has been important and necessary. Climate change does not discriminate based on race, religion, sexual preference or gender identity. Nor should we, intentionally or unintentionally.

SunPower’s mission has long been about changing our world for the better. As such, we see a movement that needs our support. We can do this by helping to power equity, not just clean energy.

We stand in solidarity with those protesting inhumane police tactics, those fighting for fairness and justice. We are encouraged by images of people from all backgrounds standing shoulder to shoulder to bring attention and change. There is no question, Black Lives Matter. I sincerely appreciate those employees who have participated in non-violent protests to make their voices heard.

SunPower has long been invested in diversity and inclusion. We have an active and passionate internal group, the Team for Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (TIDE), which hosts employee workshops, provides training on topical issues, advocates for parity and champions work/life balance. This grassroots group has provided much food for thought and continues to push the leadership team to step up and do more. In addition, in April of this year, our Board of Directors approved a new plan for formal review and oversight of SunPower’s diversity and inclusion efforts, including the establishment of diversity metrics for tracking and reporting on gender and ethnicity at hiring and promotion. 

While I feel that these mentioned initiatives are important, I believe we can do more. We must do more. Here is how:

  • Recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for both internships and employment opportunities.

  • Continuing to deliver STEM educational programming with a renewed focus on underserved communities.

  • Urging employees to use their Volunteer Time Off (as safe to do so given the pandemic) by offering their service to local groups focused on diversity, inclusion and empowerment.

  • Encouraging employees to take advantage of matching donations to 501c3 organizations through the SunPower Foundation. Under the plan, SunPower will match donations made by full-time employees, up to $1,500 per year.

  • Creating an evaluation process to track which vendors and partners are minority-owned businesses as well as a policy around including minority-owned businesses in the RFP process. 

In closing, the journey to achieving racial equality is long and not always comfortable. But if we can take meaningful, actionable steps along the way, we will get there and empower a safer, more equitable world for generations to come. 

The following SunPower affiliated groups are sources of information and inspiration on racial equality and inclusiveness:

San Jose Promise - Breaking down barriers to student success and college access.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group - Shaping the innovation economy of 350 dynamic Silicon Valley companies.

CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion - Taking measurable action in advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.