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It provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development, and is published semimonthly online by MDPI. "It's a good news, bad news situation," said Taylor. In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. 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. In order to realize a better world, it is imperative that we engage diverse peoples outside of our niche community of sustainability professionals. Diversity comes in many forms: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture, socioeconomic background, etc. From coffee to cosmetics, companies are looking for ways to protect the plants their products are made from. "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. We have an opportunity to boldly influence the decision-making process in a way that spearheads unprecedented organizational health. 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. 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. All of these contribute to an individual’s unique experience of the world. ], Other environmental funding organizations and non-profits, however, are less forthcoming. Can mission-driven food companies scale up without selling out? Other environmental funding organizations and non-profits, however, are less forthcoming. Let’s share opportunities with the diverse, next-generation of change agents and help catapult them into high-impact leadership. 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. As a black man in the field of corporate sustainability, I refer to myself as a "super-minority." 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. 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. At the average sustainability conference, I am definitely not that hard to spot. 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. It's that simple. Asian American Rhea Suh became president of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2014. Let’s face it. One-third of the 15 people hired in the past year have been people of color. Isaac William Martin and Christopher Niedt. 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. 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. Now, the 11-member board has three people of color. 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. I encourage you to develop "unlikely" relationships with a variety of individuals within your network or business and press into difficult conversations. The shareholder resolution states the lack of diversity in tech is a “crisis” that “threatens worker safety, talent retention, product development, and customer service.” I am a fourth-generation college graduate, earning my degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University. Is it possible for firms to tout environmental sustainability if they lack true diversity in their workforce? 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. Only two women and one foreigner have seats on the company's 11-member board. Sometimes we need to take a step back and examine the presence of diversity in our own life. If new hires walk into a space where they don't feel welcome, the situation is set up for failure, she said. Over 220 participants — mostly students of color — attended with resumes in hand to mingle with representatives of non-profits. The Lead, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability is responsible for promoting diverse suppliers and monitoring their usage across Abbott’s divisions. 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. 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… Environmental jobs are advertised and accepted through established networks. 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. 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. 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. "Environmental jobs are advertised and accepted through established networks," said Taylor. he asked. 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. 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. THE ESG CRAZE LACKS DIVERSITY DATA — Sustainability-minded investors are focused on the promises companies make to hire more diverse … Diversity breeds innovation and innovation breeds business growth. 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. A number of organizations are diversifying their ranks in the wake of the reports. 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. In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. 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. 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. 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. Also in 2014, the Environmental Defense Fund created a 64-page diversity strategy (PDF). Companies cannot insert diversity in the sustainability policies as paper tiger instruments or investment incentives. 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 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. The Ocean Foundation's Love agrees that retaining diverse staff will be the key to success. It is a critical issue. 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. 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. "If you are not connected, you won’t hear about or get those jobs.". Progressive organizations take an employee-centric approach to realizing … "How do groups plan to keep diverse staff, and create an environment that seeks to understand diverse backgrounds and communicate effectively?" In addition, the society is working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the staff, in part by establishing paid internships. 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. How does biodiversity impact sustainable development? I have experienced bitter encounters of prejudice and racism firsthand. These topics can be paralyzing, but we must press into these difficult spaces with vulnerability. My great-great-great-grandparents were slaves. 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. At the average sustainability conference, I am definitely not that hard to spot. They were more eager to address race and other inequities than he had anticipated. 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. “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… The shift in framing diversity beyond gender is evident in a number of developments last year. 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. I am also a black man. "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. 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. The organization found it challenging to recruit ethnically diverse, younger staff to suburban Sacramento, where the organization was originally based. Biden's foreign policy team has a surprising lack of diversity . 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. 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. 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. 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. "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.". "If you don't do it authentically," said González, "just don't do it.". "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. I have a vision of more sustainability professionals championing ethnic diversity within their respective organizations. diversity is crucial to the sustainability of the financial planning profession. He said he surprised himself by ending up in the marine field. Biodiversity is not evenly distributed, rather it varies greatly across the globe as well as within regions. And it created a new category of entry-level managers to offer employees the experience necessary to become leaders of tomorrow. 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. 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. 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. 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. A lack of diversity can hurt companies in many ways, to say nothing of individuals and society. I grew up in a happy two-parent household in which my mother homeschooled me from kindergarten to 12th grade. When you commit to do this, you have to go all in, said Center for Diversity & the Environment’s González. 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. 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. Taylor said that type of rhetoric is used to absolve organizations of a responsibility to search out or nurture talent. 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. 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. But they decided 10 years ago they needed to do more to diversify their board and staff. To help build those connections, Taylor organized a New Horizons in Conservation Conference in Washington, D.C., in April. Insufficient diversity transparency among environmental funders. © 2019 GreenBiz Group Inc. GREENBIZ® and GREENBIZ.COM® are registered trademarks of, Why diversity is the key to unlocking sustainability. Foreword by Larry Levy. The company's lack of diversity is also reflected in its boardroom. 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. The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations. "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.". 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. 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. 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