For instance, we spend a great deal of time and energy on understanding risk in our businesses so that we can help customers, communities and our industry manage the unpredictable. We share our knowledge with policyholders to help them better prepare against unexpected losses. We also work closely with industry partners in the auto and home industries to reduce risk industry-wide. Through our 82-year history, Allstate has been an early advocate for key safety innovations like seat-belts and airbags, and we continue to take a leadership role. Our Tech-Cor facility in Wheeling, Illinois profiled here, is one of the premiere facilities for auto safety research, providing auto companies with independent insights into car design and repairability.
In the supply chain area, we spent more than $5.4 billion in 2013, buying the goods and services we require to help meet our customersâ€™ needs. Like all businesses, we look for suppliers that can provide us with high-quality materials and services at reasonable prices. However, we also make an effort to source suppliers who share our values for diversity, inclusiveness and environmentally responsible business practices. Following the guidelines of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and also including gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender businesses, we seek out firms as partners, and if they are not ready organizationally to take on a relationship with Allstate, we offer them mentoring and training through the Allstate Mentoring Program
to help enhance their capability to service major corporations.
In investments, too, we incorporate social responsibility into our business goals—earning competitive returns so that we can pay claims and structure investment products that provide financial security for our customers. We invest a good portion of our fixed income assets in municipal bonds, which provide the financing to help local communities grow. We seek to be a positive social influence on the investment community by seeking out and sometimes developing new diverse talent to manage our portfolios.