Environmental organizations, foundation and nonprofit leaders voice support for first-of-its-kind program to collect diversity data from nonprofits at scale.
Green 2.0 and its working group push for data transparency, accountability and increased resources to ensure that the mainstream environmental organizations, government agencies, and foundations increase their diversity.
“Green 2.0 takes pleasure in congratulating Rhea Suh on breaking the “green ceiling” with her appointment as President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Diversity in Environmental Institutions report commissioned by Green 2.0 highlighted the deep diversity challenges, especially within the executive leadership, of the mainstream environmental movement. Today, we celebrate NRDC’s decision to hire a leader who has demonstrated that being a champion for the environment includes being a champion for diversity.”
– Robert Raben, Founder & President, The Raben Group and Founder, Green 2.0
The current state of racial diversity in environmental organizations is troubling. Unless people of color are represented, their real life experiences in their communities and their needs will not be represented in the environmental sector. As communities of color continue to grow, so does their say on social issues and politics. We need to see diversification not as a challenge, but as an opportunity to drive real change.
People of color have not broken the 16% “green ceiling” in any of the Environmental Organizations surveyed.
Green 2.0 is an initiative dedicated to increasing racial diversity across mainstream environmental NGOs, foundations and government agencies. The Green 2.0 working group advocates for data transparency, accountability and increased resources to ensure that these organizations increase their diversity.
Talking about Green 2.0
“We see climate change as one of the essential social justice issue of our times; its effects disproportionately impact marginalized and impoverished communities which have very little ability to influence the factors that contribute to global warming. We are committed to supporting our grantees in their efforts to ensure a sustainable future for all people. Since 2011, the RBF has collected data from grantees on the diversity of their boards and staff as well as their efforts to engage diverse perspectives in their work. We believe both are important. Nearly all of our partners report making efforts to increase the diversity of their staff, and many are increasingly adding policy reforms of interest to underrepresented groups to their advocacy agendas. The Taylor Report shows that we all need to do much more to support the environmental field as it reflects and responds to the demographic realities of our nation.”Stephen B Heintz
“There needs to be a wider effort to attract and retain people of color in environmental organizations. Foundations and NGOs alike must assess their current culture, recruiting and retention efforts; support tracking and transparency of data, and take urgent action to addressbiases and barriers that impede diversity. The environmental community should be the leading edge not the trailing edge of diversity efforts.”Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D.
“This report highlights an important issue for EDF and the environmental movement. Although we have increased the representation of people of color in our organization, we must continue to work hard to reflect the environmental values of all sectors of society. This is the only way to fully achieve our mission.”Fred Krupp
“The Sierra Club is proud to have supported this survey and and we are determined to help shine a light on what still needs to be done to make sure the environmental movement includes everyone who cares about clean air and water,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “That is why we are working hard to ensure our organization looks like America, and taking that issue head-on through our environmental justice program, rigorous staff training, recruitment, and other channels. The Sierra Club is focused on and committed to engaging with diverse communities in the fight to ensure a just and clean environment for all, but there is no question we have a long way to go in becoming a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.”Michael Brune
“State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations” is an excellent new report, and hopefully funders will wake up this time and face that the US is becoming increasingly more diverse. Back in 1990, the Environmental justice leaders challenged the “whiteness” of the green groups with letters to the “Big Ten” back in 1990 and in meetings with major green funders leading up to the 1991 First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. Unfortunately, not much has changed since the Summit in terms of organization and funding diversity. We affirmed at the Summit I and Summit II that if exclusion is the problem, then we will create and grow our own inclusive Environmental Justice Movement. It is high time foundations and other funders seriously fund the EJ Movement and break the mold of not just “funding the groups they like, and who look like them.” Clearly, it is not possible for our nation to be green without brown, black, red, yellow, and of course white!”Dr. Robert D. Bullard
“It’s time for the environmental community to go beyond a fragmented set of diversity initiatives and step up with a comprehensive strategy. That will take good data. Today’s Taylor Report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,” provides a thorough baseline and GuideStar is looking forward to collaborating with Green 2.0 to help collect ongoing data to track our shared progress.”Jacob Harold
“The Taylor Report, Commissioned by Green 2.0, ‘The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,’ shows that mainstream environmental organization and their funders need to do more to address serious diversity concerns and the resulting effects.
I encourage every foundation and NGO to read the report, assess their current culture, recruiting, and retention efforts, and take urgent action to address shortcomings in diversity.
After all, African Americans bear the burden of environmental injustice, as our communities face disproportionate exposures to pollution, toxins, and the unfolding climate crisis. In order to collectively tackle serious environmental problems in these communities, we should also support and advance diversity in the environmental professional ranks.”The Honorable Rodney Ellis
“Based on our extensive experience in the corporate sector, Green 2.0 is right on target in recommending that organizations urgently step up efforts to create inclusive workplaces by committing to tracking and disclose of diversity data. In a rapidly diversifying country and complex and interconnected world, Calvert understands how critical diversity is to tackling environmental challenges. The environment converges with so many other issues—so we are talking about significant implications for sustainability more broadly.”Bennett Freeman
“A healthy environment is essential to the well-being of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. That is why it is vital that the organizations that are doing the important work of advocating for a healthier environment for our communities reflect the diversity within those very communities. Given the fact that communities of color are disproportionally impacted by environmental hazards, it is essential that these organizations include more voices from people of color at every level.
“I applaud the efforts to highlight the need for diversity within the environmental movement and the extensive research that went into this report. Having an accurate picture of the state of diversity is vital to recognizing the need to make diversity a priority and making positive strides within this sector. I thank all the organizations that participated in this report, and encourage every environmental organization to heed its results and work to see that they better reflect our country as a whole.”The Honorable Ben Ray Lujan
“Green groups see the importance of measuring and reporting on ecological diversity externally. They should embrace — with equal passion — the call to measure and report demographic diversity internally. No monochrome coalition can ever win a green future. Only a rainbow-colored coalition can do that. Today’s Green 2.0 report, ‘The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,’ shows that we all need to do more.”Van Jones
“We believe this report is critically needed and very timely. Our movement and indeed our own organization don’t yet reflect the rich diversity of our nation, or even the diversity of groups we represent in our work to protect the environment for all people. Environmental burdens and benefits are not distributed equitably, and our passion for justice compels us to address these disparities in our legal work. But to fully realize justice, we must change from within.
“This report makes clear the need to close the gap between what we say and what we do. It’s telling us that we must get even more serious now about removing this ‘green ceiling.’ Earthjustice supports the work of Green 2.0 and is proud to have helped fund this report. We know that we have to tackle these issues head on in order to effect real change. We have begun this important work, taking steps to diversify our staff, our leadership, our board, and the client groups we represent. Our board and our staff have a shared commitment to diversity, and the board has a designated liaison on our staff Diversity Management Team. Still, we have much more work to do. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable and acting on the recommendations of this report.”Trip Van Noppen
“Protecting the natural environment is a cause deserving of everyone’s involvement, not just a select few but despite the fact that people of color support environmental protections at a higher rate than Whites, they have been oddly left out of the “Green Insiders’ Club”. This lack of diversity in the environmental community is nearly universally acknowledged as an issue that needs to be addressed if we are to expand the circle of environmental advocates and broaden our support. Despite this, it does not appear that there is enough of a commitment present for a sustained, concerted effort to address the problem.”
“The important work that foundations have been doing in the Latino community in areas of immigration, education, health and others needs to be expanded to include the environment. Investments in mainstream groups to work with the Latino community, with Latino civic groups to develop environmental programs, and with Latino environmental organizations will go along way to developing relationships, broadening environmental support and growing the needed pipeline of Latino environmental advocates and professionals.”