Driving diversity

1st March 2019

Maria turnball kemp

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I am delighted to introduce this month's TRANSFORM with a quote from American women's rights activist Susan B Anthony: “We shall someday be heeded, and everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.“

The environment profession is one of the least diverse, second only to farming. We know organisations that embrace equality and diversity benefit from better performance, improved customer understanding, find it easier to recruit and retain talent and are more innovative. By proactively addressing the root causes affecting the lack of diversity and equality we can increase our profession's potential to be creative in its mission and authentic in its purpose. To tackle the issue and lead the way in inclusivity, we need to reflect on the world around us and our own individual organisations.

As the leading professional body for those who work in environment and sustainability roles, we will work towards being a fully inclusive profession and reap the rewards that come from that – but in order to achieve that we need to ensure our membership includes everyone who might otherwise be excluded. That's why IEMA is working with key organisations to ensure that inclusivity is a major agenda item and that it is embedded in everything we do as a profession. We want to break down those barriers to entry and lead by example, doing all we can to ensure our membership is made up of a diverse mix of individuals, collaborating for a more sustainable future.

We ended last year by commissioning a report in partnership with the NUS and Equalities Trust to look into diversity within the sustainability sector, culminating in a presentation at the House of Lords, led by Baroness Young of Hornsey. This work will kickstart a campaign to champion inclusivity within the sustainability sector. Watch this space for updates!

Within this issue we welcome initiatives within the sector, such as Rhian Sherrington's Women in Sustainability initiative and Caroline Raynor's account of how sustainability was placed front and centre during the archaeological excavation of St James's Gardens in Euston.

We encourage all members to tackle this challenge head on and use the opportunity for new thinking. It is only by working together that we can begin to embrace diversity and make fundamental changes to become a more inclusive and diverse sector.

“IEMA is working with key organisations to ensure that inclusivity is a major agenda item“


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