We are commissioning a review of existing and planned initiatives which aim to address a lack of diversity in the environment sector in the UK.
Funders in this space are keen to ensure that they avoid duplication by supporting new initiatives when existing programmes are unable to secure funds, and to identify gaps in delivery that they could help to address. The key audience for the report will be Trustees and staff at Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, as well as other individuals and organisations working to address diversity, equity and inclusion issues in the environment sector and looking for sources of advice, models that they could replicate, or potential partners.
If you are interested in tendering for this mapping review:
- read the Invitation to Tender ITT_Diversity_Environment_2023
- email your proposal to Simon Wightman by 24 March 2023.
About the issue
The environment sector is one of the least ethnically diverse in the UK. Just 4.81% of environmental professionals identify as Black, Asian or from other minority ethnic groups, compared to 12.64% across all UK professions. People of colour working in the sector report first-hand experience of racism in the form of stereotyping, discrimination, exclusion from networking and a lack of opportunity for progression.
Whilst the lack of ethnic diversity is a particular concern, there are also significant barriers to entering and progressing within the sector for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and for disabled people.
The environment sector recognises that it has not done enough to ensure that it represents the people it ultimately seeks to serve. The Black Lives Matter movement prompted organisations to examine their own systems and practices as well as identifying areas where their services and expertise could support others in driving the transition to a more inclusive sector. The momentum this has created gives confidence that meaningful and lasting change can be achieved but it has also resulted in a complex ecosystem of sometimes overlapping initiatives. There is a risk that organisations or individuals looking for support do not know where they can find it and it can make it more difficult for funders and others to focus resources on addressing gaps.
Some key current initiatives are listed below, and this mapping review will identify more. Recent projects have also focused on offering entry level placements to people from underrepresented backgrounds, at how opportunities are advertised and at how training opportunities can be made more accessible.
A sample of current initiatives include:
- “Route map towards greater ethnic diversity: Creating conditions for minority ethnic people to join and thrive in the environment sector”. Wildlife and Countryside Link recently worked with Natural England and the equity, diversity and inclusion consultancy, Full Colour, to look at what is helping and hindering progress towards greater ethnic diversity and to develop a route map of change for the sector.
- Diverse Sustainability Initiative. Led and coordinated by IEMA, this is a collaborative programme with a vision to transform the sustainability and wider environment sector.
- Race Equality Environmental Programme. This initiative seeks “to improve the capacity of the environment sector to tackle racial inequality and support ethnic minority people” in Scotland.
- The RACE Report. This is administered by SOS-UK. It gathers and publishes data from charities, trusts and foundations working in the environment sector to encourage transparency in progress made in addressing a lack of diversity.
- A challenging environment: Experiences of ethnic minority environmental professionals. This aims to understand the barriers to a representative environmental workforce and provides recommendations for individuals, employers and, more broadly, the sector to promote and enhance inclusion of ethnic minorities.