Environmental organisations pledge to diversify sector

9th November 2023


Over 70 environmental organisations in the UK have signed up to a new campaign committing to make the green jobs workforce more diverse and inclusive.

Signatories to the Force of Nature campaign, led by the charity Groundwork, commit to developing an action plan to make their organisations more diverse and inclusive, adopt recruitment practices that boost diversity, and create entry-level roles with career progression prospects for diverse talent.

This comes after research from IEMA, SOS-UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council last year found that only 4.8% of employees in the environmental sector came from an ethnically-diverse background, compared with an average of 12.6% across all professions.

The RACE Report 2022 also revealed that only 7% of those working in the environmental charity sector come from an ethnically-diverse background, compared to the all-profession average of 14%.

“The diversity challenge for the environmental sector is well documented, and being addressed through a range of complementary initiatives,” said Groundwork’s UK chief executive, Graham Duxbury.

“Making sure our recruitment and development practices are inclusive and accessible is an important piece of the jigsaw.

“As a movement in the midst of a climate and nature crisis we need to be as effective as possible at engaging all sections of society in our work. We’ll only do this if our workforce better reflects and understands the diversity of the communities we’re working in and with.

WWF-UK, Wildlife and Countryside Link, RSPB, and The Wildlife Trust are among the environmental organisations that have signed up to the Force of Nature campaign.

It is built on the success achieved through the New to Nature programme, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, that has seen 96 people from under-represented groups employed with various environmental organisations.

This comes after IEMA launched its Diverse Sustainability Initiative in 2021, which is dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in the environment and sustainability sector.

Speaking at the launch, IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE, said: “As a British Asian, speaking with diverse people in the sector, I am shocked and saddened by some of the stories I have heard of racial inequality within the environment and sustainability profession.

“We have a commitment to be far more representative of this country, and I urge people to sign up and pledge their commitment to joining us in supporting and encouraging new diverse professionals, wherever they are in their career.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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