19th March 2021
Did you know only 3% of people work in the environment profession are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities? We believe this needs to change. Today, the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) are launching a key collaboration with organisations in the environmental and sustainability profession and NGOs, to support and mentor those diverse people working in the environment. IEMA are calling for recognition, mentoring and support for specialists who are underrepresented in the industry.
IEMA are launching the ‘Diverse Sustainability Initiative’(DSI) website alongside their goal to build a profession and sector that over time, is reflective of modern Britain. The purpose of the DSI is to improve diversity through education, connection and transparency to support current professionals and increase appeal and access for future and potential professionals. With collaboration from partners ranging from the Environment Agency to Bat Conservation Trust and the RSPB, we are pledging to educate, reform and encourage the next generation of diverse professionals to join the environment profession.
By signing up with the DSI, Bat Conservation Trust is making a public commitment to improve diversity by making a positive difference to bring about change. Although this is a long-term goal, the purpose is to improve diversity through education, connection and transparency to support current professionals and increase appeal and access for future and potential specialists.
Kit Stoner, CEO, BCT: “Our sector is not representative of the society we live in and we need to proactively address this. It’s not just the right thing to do, it is essential that we do this. We need diverse voices to stand up for our natural world.”
Sarah Mukherjee, CEO, IEMA “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.”
Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB: “We are pleased to commit to the Diverse Sustainability Initiative. We’re very clear that we need to take concerted action to improve the diversity of the RSPB if we are going to tackle the scale of the nature and climate emergency and deliver our vision of a world where everyone can live in harmony with a world richer in nature. Addressing the issue as a sector and holding each other to account on progress makes complete sense as a way to drive the action required.”
Full list of collaborating partners available here: Partners | Diverse Sustainability
BCT’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity statement: https://www.bats.org.uk/the-trust/policies/equality-diversity-and-inclusivity
Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) is a professional body with almost 17,000 members in 116 countries. Their members are sustainability experts working in public and private sector roles across a wide range of industries from financial services to development and construction. Through a combination of training programmes, sharing of best practice and thought leadership and advocacy, they work with members to drive change in areas such as corporate sustainability, climate change and energy, the circular economy, environmental management and impact assessment.
Whilst addressing inequalities and improving diversity in the profession is a long-term aim, they are keen to use the platform offered by COP26 to reach a larger audience and amplify marginalised voices within the profession. As just one part of their plan for 2021 the proposed event will feature case studies which reflect diversity with regards to race, LGBTQ+, gender and physical ability. They will also feature professionals from a diverse age range, including young professionals, representative of the high level of enthusiasm there is for climate issues among the young generation.
In 2017, a Policy Exchange survey identified the environment and sustainability sector as the second least diverse out of 202 professions in the UK. Race, inclusivity and environmental sustainability report conducted by NUS, IEMA and The Equality Trust