Racial diversity reporting grows within environmental charities

6th February 2024

The number of UK environmental charities reporting on the racial diversity of their workforce grew by more than half last year, according to figures released yesterday.

The RACE Report – which aims to boost transparency on racial diversity, and works closely with IEMA – revealed that 142 environmental charities, trusts and foundations submitted data on the ethnic composition of their staff in 2023.

This represents a 56% increase on the 91 organisations that did so for the inaugural report in 2022, and a 63% rise in the number of employees represented.

However, the findings show that just 6% of staff identified as people of colour and other racially or ethnically minoritised groups, down from 7% the previous year, and less than half of the 15% across the entire UK workforce.

Although the researchers said that the decrease is of “low statistical significance” given the larger sample size, they insisted that “rapid action” is needed from environmental charities to reflect the diversity of modern British workers.

“It's encouraging to see how much the sector’s engagement with racial diversity has grown in just one year,” said Manu Maunganidze, from The RACE Report team.

“The more data we have at our disposal, the better equipped we are to shape best practice and ensure we are amplifying underrepresented voices in the fight for social and environmental justice.

“We now need to make sure that this engagement translates into more meaningful progress. That means reflecting on what the data tells us, but also really listening to the lived experiences of the individuals who power our sector.”

Despite the lack of diversity within environmental charities, the latest findings show that 11% had published or were in the process of publishing data on their race equity pay gap last year, up from 5% in 2022.

Furthermore, 63% of organisations had given a senior leader official responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), up from 44%, while 85% had partially or fully implemented a regular review of EDI activities to ensure they remain effective and impactful, up from 80%.

This year’s report also includes findings from a Staff Perceptions Survey, which aims to contextualise diversity data within the lived experiences of employees.

Of the 1,552 respondents, 68% of white employees agreed that their organisation actively identifies and opposes racism through its policies, compared with 56% of colleagues which are people of colour and other racially or ethnically minoritised groups.

White workers were also more likely to agree that there are as many opportunities for them to succeed in their organisation as there are for their peers (66% vs 51%), and that they felt they belonged in their organisation (84% vs 74%).

The RACE Report builds on progress being made by IEMA’s Diverse Sustainability Initiative (DSI), which seeks to diversify the environment and sustainability profession by offering support to both existing and potential workers through education, connection, and transparency.

IEMA also has representation on The RACE Report’s advisory group, and has established partnerships with several key organisations across the industry.

Speaking at the DSI’s launch in March 2021, CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE, said: “As a British Asian, I know how important it is to address systematic inequality and the real need to reflect the diversity of this country.

“We must continue to gather data and offer our support and encouragement to people who wish to join our sector but feel they don’t belong. You do belong, and we are here to support you.”

Image credit: Unsplash


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

Transform articles

Renewables account for almost half of Britain’s power generation

Solar power generation hit a new high in the last quarter as renewables accounted for almost half of Britain’s energy production, according to a report from Montel Analytics.

18th July 2024

Read more

Only a third of the emission reductions required for the UK to achieve net zero by 2030 are covered by credible plans, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

18th July 2024

Read more

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Three in five British adults want more public involvement in the planning system, which could be at odds with Labour’s plans to boost economic growth, IEMA research has found.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 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