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Green 2.0: Environmental Movement Still Lacks Racial, Ethnic Diversity

Image Credit: Green 2.0

Climate change is the most important issue of our time and one that concerns people of all ages, genders, races and socio-economic backgrounds, yet the environmental movement continues to be dominated by an overwhelmingly narrow demographic says a new report.

Green 2.0, an independent advocacy campaign to increase diversity among environmental groups, has released new data reporting on 40 major environmental NGOs which reveals that the racial and ethnic demography of staff, leadership and boards are still predominately white. Two of the leading organizations in the sector, Oceana and Pew Charitable Trusts, refused to participate in the survey or submit data.

“When we started Green 2.0, the Taylor Report found that environmental groups were stubbornly still overwhelmingly white at the top,” said Robert Raben, president and founder of Green 2.0. “While we are pleased that so many organizations are committed to transparency, the leadership of too many organizations still sadly lags in racial and ethnic diversity. Green 2.0 has found that many in the movement are eager to improve, yet some have dragged their feet or refused.”

The Transparency Card comes three years after Green 2.0’s State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations report, the first comprehensive assessment of the demographic makeup of the environmental movement. Since 2014, Green 2.0 and the Green Leadership Trust have worked to help hiring managers and executive search firms access the deep pipeline of qualified candidates of color, help organizations build an equitable and inclusive culture internally and advocate for data transparency across the sector.

People of color currently represent 27 percent, 15 percent and 22 percent of staff, leadership and board positions respectively in 2017 — demonstrating some level of progress over the three-year period since the organization’s launch. Yet there is still more work to be done for groups to be representative of current U.S. workforce demographics and to ensure the perspectives of people of color are meaningfully integrated into the movement’s work.

“We are thrilled to see so many organizations committing to diversity and inclusion,” said Whitney Tome, Executive Director of Green 2.0. “Their commitment shows in these numbers and it is evident in the many conversations and workshops that Green 2.0 has held with NGOs. Unfortunately, some organizations have been slow to get on board or have outright refused. Nevertheless, I hope that all in the movement will embrace the recommendations in this report and see that progress is not only necessary but attainable.”

Alongside the Transparency Card, Green 2.0 has released Beyond Diversity: A Roadmap to Building an Inclusive Organization, a report by Dr. Maya Beasley of the University of Connecticut. The report is a comprehensive collection of best practices for organizations to improve their readiness, recruitment and retention of people of color to catalyze systemic change across the environmental movement.


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