Boosting diversity within the profession

2nd November 2020

Three years ago, a Policy Exchange survey identified the environment and sustainability sector as the second-least diverse among 202 professions in the UK. While this statistic is often quoted, it has been seldom acted upon – until now.

Small pockets of best practice are starting to appear, such as the SOS-UK Kickstarter programme, but greater action is needed if we are to change the culture at the heart of this problem. We need large-scale systemic changes across the profession to improve its appeal and accessibility, and to ensure anyone can progress, regardless of their background.

IEMA has committed to delivering a programme of work to improve representation across the profession. We recognise that this work must be well planned and include short, medium and long-term goals with a consensus among all members and partners if we are going to achieve the wholesale change needed to reflect a truly global organisation.

In September, our first roundtable on diversity in the sustainability sector marked the beginning of this work. IEMA members, including people from black, white, Asian and minority backgrounds, joined with external critical friends from diverse communities to outline the challenges and barriers faced by black, Asian and minority communities, and discuss solutions and ideas.

The recommendations generated by these discussions were then taken to a CEO roundtable, which IEMA convened during Black History Month. Representatives from across the sector discussed the challenges and barriers in their own organisations, and committed to a set of objectives for holding each other to account in future.

The next steps in this work will be to widen consultation with the IEMA membership, create a sector-wide strategy for improving representation, and host further roundtables for accountability and direction.

If you would like to know more about the diversity programme, email Lisa Pool, membership marketing manager, on [email protected]

Image credit: Getty Images


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

Senior consultant, EcoAct

3rd April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close