"It's a good news, bad news situation," said Taylor. The society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. Taylor said that type of rhetoric is used to absolve organizations of a responsibility to search out or nurture talent. Here are some convincing statistics that demonstrate the value of investing in greater diversity and inclusion. My great-great-great-grandparents were slaves. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/why-diversity-key-unlocking-sustainability Foreword by Larry Levy. If it's not us purpose-driven corporate sustainability professionals, then who? As we know very well, presenting a sound business case is integral to gaining buy-in from key internal players. While the energy industry has made progress toward diversification, more work is needed. Corporate sustainability teams must be the organizational "heartbeat" or conscience (as my friend and mentor Lindsay James, sustainability consultant, expressed), influencing trends and behaviors across the business. It provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development, and is published semimonthly online by MDPI. The short answer is: no. A 2014 study (PDF) of 191 U.S. conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies and 28 environmental grant-making foundations found that ethnic minorities do not exceed 16 percent of board members or staff of environmental organizations. As corporate sustainability professionals, we must lead the cultivation of a more inclusive, equitable world for all. And it created a new category of entry-level managers to offer employees the experience necessary to become leaders of tomorrow. I have a vision of more sustainability professionals championing ethnic diversity within their respective organizations. Other environmental funding organizations and non-profits, however, are less forthcoming. Following the fellowship, Love accepted a job to work on initiatives aiming at protecting marine mammals as well as efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion­ at the Ocean Foundation. A number of organizations are diversifying their ranks in the wake of the reports. Progressive organizations take an employee-centric approach to realizing … The company's lack of diversity is also reflected in its boardroom. If you are not connected, you won’t hear about or get those jobs. The tide is changing for offshore aquaculture, Climate change ups the urgency on saving the world's seeds, Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Marine Conservation Diversity Fellowship. Still, "there have to be employers ready to hire them," she said. The percent of people of color on staff has gone up from 9 percent to 26 percent since 2015. Society president Jamie Williams realized the organization needed to make systemic changes to the board, staffing and partnership efforts to better achieve its mission of protecting public lands. The lack of diversity in U.S. environmental non-profit organizations has been well chronicled in recent years. diversity is crucial to the sustainability of the financial planning profession. It is a critical issue. Now, the 11-member board has three people of color. A 2014 study (PDF)of 191 U.S. conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies and 28 environmental grant-making foundations found that ethnic minorities do not exceed 16 percent of board members or staff of environmental organizations. Eddie Love was the lone African American in a cohort of 90 wildlife management students at Auburn University and one of three people of color at his U.S. Forest Service internship in the western Great Plains region of the U.S. Over 220 participants — mostly students of color — attended with resumes in hand to mingle with representatives of non-profits. At times, Diversity is used in a superficial way within organizations and sustainability programs without consideration of the deeper, long-term and more strategic implications of diversity. Although I have grown used to the discomfort associated with rarely seeing industry counterparts who look like me, I remain hopeful and optimistic that more of us will maximize our platforms and choose to embrace the value of diversity and inclusion. "If you are not connected, you won’t hear about or get those jobs.". Diversity comes in many forms: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture, socioeconomic background, etc. The organization also has spent time reaching out to local schools and colleges, championing conservation as a career choice. Lack Of Diversity and Inclusion May Impact Financial Performance And Customer Loyalty Studies have proven that more diversity and inclusion leads … [Editor's note: After publication, Conservation International contacted Ensia to explain that interview requests were misrouted. Providing tomorrow's diverse agents of change with access, exposure and opportunity via internships, apprenticeships and trainee programs is a simple yet meaningful way to promote diversity and unlock a more sustainable future. Chart by Sean Quinn. I’m confident that our community of corporate sustainability professionals has what it takes to rise to new levels of bold leadership, trailblazing unprecedented realities in diversity and inclusion, which will lead to greater organizational health and an even stronger movement for social and environmental change. The lack of Diversity and Inclusion … This lack of diversity in our diet causes a lack of diversity in nature, and also makes us less resilient to pests or diseases in our food supply. "We learned we need to be intentional about change, not just well-intended," said Williams. Sometimes we need to take a step back and examine the presence of diversity in our own life. Her organization has trained over 5,000 underserved, underrepresented young adults, ages 16­-25, in environmental stewardship — ranging from conservation to urban agriculture to landscape management. The organization found it challenging to recruit ethnically diverse, younger staff to suburban Sacramento, where the organization was originally based. "Environmental jobs are advertised and accepted through established networks," said Taylor. Let me provide some context by sharing what has shaped my perspective. The Ocean Foundation's Love agrees that retaining diverse staff will be the key to success. Focus on your employees. "Organizations need to see diversity as a great opportunity," she said. In 2015, Audubon created a statement outlining the organization's diversity goals, and last year hired pioneering environmental justice lawyer Deeohn Ferris as vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion. To continue to build a broader, more diverse coalition, the Resources Legacy Fund is looking for synergies between its own mission and a community's priorities — for example, connecting its concern about air quality with diverse farmworkers' concern about pesticide drift. I grew up in a happy two-parent household in which my mother homeschooled me from kindergarten to 12th grade. The Lead, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability is responsible for promoting diverse suppliers and monitoring their usage across Abbott’s divisions. Such experiences help youth from diverse backgrounds become familiar with corporate culture, gain valuable network connections, showcase their abilities and ideas and test-drive their interests. Over 30 percent of past attendees have gone on to pursue careers in environmental fields, said conference organizer Beverly Wright. If new hires walk into a space where they don't feel welcome, the situation is set up for failure, she said. The STaTe of DiverSiTy in environmenTal organizaTionS execuTive Summary page 6 9. vironmen en Tal organizaTionS Say ThaT The biggeST barrierS To hiring minoriTieS in Their organizaTionS are feW job openingS anD lack of minoriTy applicanTS. Research on lack of ethnic diversity on sustainability. "There is greater recognition that there's a problem, but we are nowhere near where we should be in terms of hiring people of color.". I have experienced bitter encounters of prejudice and racism firsthand. © 2019 GreenBiz Group Inc. GREENBIZ® and GREENBIZ.COM® are registered trademarks of, Why diversity in sustainability matters, and what you can do. Mary Scoonover, executive vice president of the California-based conservation non-profit Resources Legacy Fund, said her organization, since inception, has focused on broadening, ethnically and economically, the groups and leaders who advocate for conservation. The Pew Charitable Trusts and Conservation International, for example, do not share their diversity data and did not respond to repeated interview requests for this story. The shareholder resolution states the lack of diversity in tech is a “crisis” that “threatens worker safety, talent retention, product development, and customer service.” "It never would have crossed my mind," he said. Communicating honestly helps develop a culture of self-enforced accountability, and can catalyze radical shifts within businesses as a whole. In order to realize a better world, it is imperative that we engage diverse peoples outside of our niche community of sustainability professionals. Among other factors, the diversity of all living things depends on temperature, precipitation, altitude, soils, geography and the presence of other species.The study of the spatial distribution of organisms, species and ecosystems, is the science of biogeography. But they decided 10 years ago they needed to do more to diversify their board and staff. "I see a lot of organizations put a toe in the water and try to recruit for diversity but do nothing to create an inclusive environment," she said. Toward the goal of promoting diversity in the sector, the Women in Energy program of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) a… The lack of diversity in U.S. environmental non-profit organizations has been well chronicled in recent years. Changing an organization's culture takes time and deliberate action. BoardSource just released its report on board diversity, and the statistics are frustrating, disappointing, and somewhat anger-inducing….The lack of diversity on boards is no longer just annoying. Environmental jobs are advertised and accepted through established networks. Sustainability; The Future of Agencies ... MENA Leaders Push for a More Nuanced View of Diversity. a. She is involved in two fellowships for college students of color to gain experience in university research labs and non-profit organizations — yet her program staff receives only a modest number of job advertisements from environmental organizations. Environmental jobs are advertised and accepted through established networks. Here's a snapshot of McKinsey's findings: There are strong correlations between diversity metrics and financial success. Benefits of diversity … Let’s face it. The reality is that people who are most affected by climate change tend to represent cultures and ethnicities that are largely underrepresented in business as a whole. He is currently Managing Director-Energy and Sustainability at … Inauthentic gestures — for example, promoting diverse faces on an organization's website without concomitant shifts in outreach or recruitment — are a common misstep. It’s about the genetic diversity within species, the diversity of habitats, and the large biological units known as biomes, such as the coniferous forest biome. In 2014, a report produced by Green 2.0, an organization that brings attention to the lack of diversity in mainstream environmental movements, conducted a survey of the country’s 40 largest environmental NGOs, including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club. How sustainability professionals can uplift the black community, Every sustainability team needs a customer-facing specialist, 3 secrets for scoring an entry-level sustainability job, Dynamic sustainability teams do these three things. The survey found that, on average, people of color made up 27 percent of full-time staff and 14 percent of senior staff, … Only two women and one foreigner have seats on the company's 11-member board. Queta González helps organizations develop strategies to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in her role as director of Center for Diversity & the Environment in Portland, Oregon. ], Other environmental funding organizations and non-profits, however, are less forthcoming. "Different kinds of people will come up with different kinds of ideas, and the more variety, the better," wrote Todd Pittinsky, a Stony Brook University professor, in the Harvard Business Review. If you are not connected, you won’t hear about or get those jobs. I am also a black man. In 2015, McKinsey’s "Why Diversity Matters" report measured financial performance against diversity metrics, examining 256 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the U.K. and the U.S. Canada’s new food guide: A fail on culture and sustainability January 17, 2019 5.24pm EST • Updated January 22, 2019 10.09pm EST Sarah Duignan , McMaster University In January, study author Dorceta Taylor, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, released another report (PDF download) of 2,057 U.S. environmental nonprofit organizations, analyzing voluntary diversity data between 2014 and 2016. US Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson launched a campaign drawing attention to the lack of racial diversity in the executive ranks of top-tier Silicon Valley firms. At the average sustainability conference, I am definitely not that hard to spot. The lack of diversity stunts the mainstreaming of sustainability. I am a fourth-generation college graduate, earning my degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University. Editor's note: This is the first in new series by GreenBiz 30 Under 30 alumni, sharing unique, global perspectives on sustainability professionals' roles in ensuring a thriving future for the environment, business and society. In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. Let’s share opportunities with the diverse, next-generation of change agents and help catapult them into high-impact leadership. More than 52 percent of paid interns at for-profits received a job offer upon graduation (compared to 46 percent of the class overall), with a median starting salary of $51,251 compared with $47,358, according to the 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers Report. Creating programs in which students can gain valuable education and experience while providing business value is essential. Adobe's sustainability team (led by fellow GreenBiz 30 Under 30 honoree Liz Lowe) is an example of a company that has taken this challenge head-on and recognized the value of diversity within an organization. The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations. All of these contribute to an individual’s unique experience of the world. To help build those connections, Taylor organized a New Horizons in Conservation Conference in Washington, D.C., in April. I am employed as the manager of sustainability at Interface Americas and recently was recognized as a GreenBiz 30 Under 30 honoree. Asian American Rhea Suh became president of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2014. Included in this millennial pool are high-potential, minority youth with a strong desire already in their DNA to positively affect people and planet. "There is a serious disconnect between the changing demographics in our country and the lack of diverse leadership and staffing at organizations that protect our health and the environment.". Here are three actionable steps your organization can take to realize greater diversity. When you commit to do this, you have to go all in, said Center for Diversity & the Environment’s González. To that end, González said one of the most important things an organization can do is center its actions around the answer to one question: Why does diversity matter to us? In 2017, the Wilderness Society reported that people of color held 4 percent of its senior staff positions, 14 percent of all staff positions and 10 percent of its board positions. According to Net Impact, "More than 50 percent of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values, while 90 percent want to use their skills for good." Insufficient diversity transparency among environmental funders. And that's the problem: There are still relatively few connections between communities of color and the environmental sector. A 2014 study showed that racial diversity in U.S. conservation and preservation organizations tends to be lowest on boards and highest among relatively new employees and interns. In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8 percent. The entertainer had been in talks to partner with Reebok until meeting with her potential team there. This position will also work to design and support comprehensive strategies around supply chain sustainability. They were more eager to address race and other inequities than he had anticipated. Introduction to Sustainability. "We know we still have a lot of work to do," said Williams, "but [these efforts] will make us a much stronger, dynamic organization over the long run.". Source: Taylor, D.E. We have an opportunity to boldly influence the decision-making process in a way that spearheads unprecedented organizational health. Represent Abbott strategically in the industry and community. Hofstra study on the lack of teacher diversity on Long Island; NCSS in the News. Also in 2014, the Environmental Defense Fund created a 64-page diversity strategy (PDF). In order to make real progress on diversifying corporate sustainability, we must be willing to step outside of our comfort zones and have honest conversations. A representative told Ensia that 35 percent of Conservation International's U.S. staff members — including CEO M. Sanjayan — are minorities, and the organization is a partner in EcologyPlus, an effort to connect diverse college students and early-career scientists with ecology careers. © 2019 GreenBiz Group Inc. GREENBIZ® and GREENBIZ.COM® are registered trademarks of, Why diversity is the key to unlocking sustainability. Even though we are often oblivious to it, this diversity of life is what provides clean water, oxygen, and all other things that end up being part of our diet… In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Farmers know climate change is real — can they fight it? The Lack of Diversity in the Environmental Movement – Part 3 Environmentalism is a movement that impacts all classes, colors, and demographics of society, yet is rarely represented by the individuals working on the issues themselves. As a black man in the field of corporate sustainability, I refer to myself as a "super-minority." Can mission-driven food companies scale up without selling out? A healthy organization must reflect the beautiful ethnic mosaic that is our world. At the average sustainability conference, I am definitely not that hard to spot. THE ESG CRAZE LACKS DIVERSITY DATA — Sustainability-minded investors are focused on the promises companies make to hire more diverse … he asked. The ongoing lack of ethnic diversity on environmental organization boards and staff suggests that, overall, talk of increasing diversity has not turned into widespread action. Biodiversity is not evenly distributed, rather it varies greatly across the globe as well as within regions. In January, study author Dorceta Taylor, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at University of Michigan’s School for En… These topics can be paralyzing, but we must press into these difficult spaces with vulnerability. So it made a big move — opening an office in Los Angeles and expanding their presence in San Francisco, in part, to help attract high-caliber candidates from diverse backgrounds. She said organizations that successfully attract and retain diverse staff and develop cross-cultural relationships are clear about their goals, transparent, accept feedback and are authentic. Building diverse, inclusive work environments has become a priority for businesses across the globe—bringing benefits that include higher productivity and improved performance, as well as increased creativity and broader perspectives that lead to better decision-making. In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. If the pipeline problem is a myth, there is a diverse talent pool for every field. ", Ali offered one answer: "If we truly want to win on climate and the environment, that means all voices must help drive the process. Candid yet open-minded dialogues in which all participants seek to learn of and empathize with one another's experiences can shine a light on our commonalities. In early April, shortly after Beyoncé announced her upcoming fashion collaboration with Adidas, ESPN’s Nick DePaula reported the deal could have gone another way. Throughout the organization — from adjusting its mission to include the needs of underserved communities to addressing unconscious bias in hiring practices — the society is working to embed equity and inclusivity into everything it does, he said. Mustafa Ali, senior vice president of climate, environmental justice and community revitalization with the Hip Hop Caucus, a national non-profit that encourages civic engagement, agrees. The first step, he said, was to be more representative of the communities they aim to serve — and that required outreach. He said he surprised himself by ending up in the marine field. Calvert and other inventors believe that lack of diversity affects a company’s ability to attract talent. The Storm, the Strife, and Everyday Life: Sea Changes in the Suburbs. "I want to dispel the myth that there are not diverse young people out there interested in this work," said Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and founder of Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia. "Numbers don’t lie," he said. Is it possible for firms to tout environmental sustainability if they lack true diversity in their workforce? Diversity breeds innovation and innovation breeds business growth. There are signs, however, that some organizations are taking fundamental steps to seek out people with valuable, yet underrepresented perspectives and skills — and ensure a welcoming environment once they arrive. The unequal performance of companies in the same industry and country implies that diversity is a competitive differentiator shifting market share toward more diverse companies. Another is focusing too much on increasing the number of people of color hired, instead of investigating why the numbers are so low and addressing the root causes, said Charles "Chas" Lopez, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Earthjustice, a San Francisco–based environmental law nonprofit. Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050; CODEN: SUSTDE) is an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings. Diversifying environmental non-profits takes time, patience and, most important, thoughtful, sustained action. Ezeilo estimated only 15 to 17 percent of her trainees have secured long-term employment in environmental organizations. Get articles like this delivered to your inbox. The society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. But she also noted that she measures success not by employment, but by the number of people she exposes to environmental fields — trainees who see things through a lens of sustainability even if they wind up in other professions. Biden's foreign policy team has a surprising lack of diversity . "We’re slowly increasing our diversity," Scoonover said, but admitted, "we have more progress to make." TL: Without biological diversity, there is no other life on Earth, including our own. "If you don't do it authentically," said González, "just don't do it.". We not only must steward the environment but also explore ways to meet the needs of the vulnerable and create healthy platforms for people of all backgrounds to embrace commonalities, celebrate differences and heal tensions. Still, he was surprised by the lack of diversity in the marine non-governmental organization community when he accepted a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Marine Conservation Diversity Fellowship, part of a program designed to attract people of color to work on ocean issues. To address the lack of racial diversity in the financial planning profession and its root causes, the Center assembled the Diversity Advisory Group (DAG), composed of thought leaders and experts from across the financial services sector, to bring collective "If it's drudgery or scary, it will fail. She found that 3.9 percent of organizations reveal their data on racial diversity; on average, 80 percent of their board members and 85 percent of their staff were white. Despite the increasing number of fellowship, internship and training opportunities to provide people of color with pathways to gain skills and experience in environmental fields, organizations continue to lament a lack of diverse applicants. Daily, I traverse a world of subtle, nuanced microaggressions that can challenge one’s confidence, success and sense of self-value — and are capable of inducing anxiety in any person of color. Where can you find these passionate, talented students? Organizations should make it safe to explore topics such as systemic privilege, unconscious bias and the failure to prioritize in the recruiting process — as well as individuals’ fears, misconceptions, curiosities and obstacles. Other environmental funding organizations and non-profits, however, are less forthcoming. The shift in framing diversity beyond gender is evident in a number of developments last year. From coffee to cosmetics, companies are looking for ways to protect the plants their products are made from. I encourage you to develop "unlikely" relationships with a variety of individuals within your network or business and press into difficult conversations. Broadening the organization’s focus beyond protecting the biggest, wildest places, the Wilderness Society launched an Urban to Wild initiative to protect outdoor recreational areas close to and within cities and increase public transportation from cities to these areas — making it easier for city dwellers, including people of color, to access the outdoors. Companies cannot insert diversity in the sustainability policies as paper tiger instruments or investment incentives. ", Get articles like this delivered to your inbox. Five years ago, the group’s seven-member board had no people of color. Robert Brinkmann. “She said, ‘Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin colour, and where I’m from and what I want to do.’ And so she kinda took a step back and left,” says DePau… One-third of the 15 people hired in the past year have been people of color. It's that simple. Isaac William Martin and Christopher Niedt. In September, the sixth annual HBCU Climate Conference, which brings together historically black college and universities staff, faculty and students, will take place in New Orleans and expects 400 attendees. At the average sustainability conference, I am definitely not that hard to spot. And tech companies have made headway by having at … We live in an incredibly divided world. How does biodiversity impact sustainable development? If facilitated with grace and understanding, these dialogues will become easier with time because they cultivate connectedness and transparency as all parties collaboratively take positive steps forward. 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