It’s time for our movement to benchmark performance on ethnic diversity

June 6, 2022

Guest blog
The Green Alliance, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming, Wildlife & Countryside Link and The Wildlife Trusts are all participating in The RACE Report initiative. We warmly encourage our members and partners to join in. It’s high time we recognise that our movement is one of the least ethnically diverse in the country and take action to fix this.

Together, our alliances and networks involve over 200 national organisations. We know that many in the environment sector are committed to combating the inherent racism and injustices in which our movement is steeped – from land ownership, to the distribution of funds, the jobs people do and who gets to make decisions. We also recognise that good solutions can only be found and championed when the people most affected are involved in decision-making and in shaping what we work on and how we see the world. Yet the environment, climate, sustainability and conservation sector is one of the least diverse in the country in terms of leadership and employees. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the average rate of employment in all professions for people identifying as from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds is over 12%. Yet in the environment and conservation sectors, it is shockingly low, at between 0% and 4%. Let’s work together to fix this.

Our organisations would like to help our movement to become more representative of the communities we are working to serve. We are taking a range of actions, including participating in The RACE Report and we want to encourage our members to join in with this initiative, as a cohort committed to working together for racial justice. The RACE Report is run by a coalition of Hindu Climate Action, Nature Youth Connection and Education, South Asians for Sustainability and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), who coordinate the work.

Participation entails collection and submission of key data on staff, leadership, Trustees and on employment practices in relation to ethnic diversity, and templates can be provided.

“Unfortunately, minoritised communities in the UK are used to slow progress on equity and diversity in the workplace. I’m heartened that RACE Report will provide transparency and a means for ongoing frank discussions about the pace of change in the sector. We will soon find out which organisations are prepared to do the hard work that comes with genuine transformation, versus those which are only comfortable with change when it’s reserved to Instagram posts.”

Andre Kpodonu, Head of Activism, Feedback and member of Sustain’s Council of Trustees

As well as shaping up our own internal culture, recruitment and employment practices, we want to support Racial Action for the Climate Emergency (RACE) in their aim to bring greater transparency to the sustainability sector, to cultivate the impetus to go further and faster on diversity and inclusion. Having looked at their survey and plans, we think this will also provide a very helpful and authoritative benchmark for the sector, and opportunities to compare performance and identify gaps, as well as share ideas and good practice to drive and inspire collective action.

Congratulations to members of our alliances and networks who have already signed up to take part in The RACE Report, including: Bumblebee Conservation Trust; Campaign for National Parks; Compassion in World Farming; Feedback; Food Ethics Council; Greenpeace; SOS-UK; Women's Environmental Network; Woodland Trust; WWF; ZSL Institute of Zoology.

You can read the original article on the Sustain website.