• April 19, 2024

A Lesson for Earth Day 2021: Climate Action Requires Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

AWorld leaders are gathering this week for Earth Day. Governments and businesses are being scrutinized to take steps to tackle the climate crisis. While this has become an annual tradition, this year offers a new opportunity to address two of the most pressing issues of our time together.

The vast majority of Americans are calling for more climate action. Survey Find. Over the past ten years, more and more people have declared that they want environmental protection prioritized about economic growth. This shift is also taking place in investment strategies. A recently released survey Robeco found that climate change is now “a major factor in the investment policy of nearly three-quarters (73%) of the investors surveyed”.

In the meantime, the past year has shown us that governments and companies must address Another important topic just as quickly: Diversity, Justice and Inclusion (DEI). Racial justice protests following videos of unarmed black men killed by police sparked new calls for a real commitment to eradicating inequalities. Survey show Americans want to see a lot more action.

This also applies to the investing community. In one survey From Ernst & Young, investors named environmental concerns and diversity as two of the three most important success factors for the next few years (right after “Quality of the strategy and ability to implement”).

Here’s the good news: these two topics go hand in hand.

How the environment and diversity are linked

To transform the way they do business to decarbonise and address the dangers of climate change, companies need to innovate. For this, employees with different ideas, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences must be brought together and empowered to be heard. Like Nasdaq pointed out“Research has shown that taking steps towards diversity leads to meaningful change and innovation across the organization.”

This is true in every arena, but it has a particularly strong response to the environment. While all of humanity is exposed to the dangers of climate change (something my own family has dealt with), some individual communities are particularly at risk. Like Princeton University, for example written downMore than half of those who live near hazardous waste are colored people, and Indian tribes are among the worst hit by ocean acidification.

Diversity and inclusion help keep all of these different concerns at the fore. As a study from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, explainedMost companies “tend to reflect white male values” so that they “construct ideas and responses to climate change and sustainability from the perspective of the privileged, overlooking the competing interests and epistemic diversity that surround these social spheres” problems . Responsible leadership requires different perspectives and knowledge, especially with regard to climate change, the effects of which affect social groups in very different ways depending on gender, class and race. “

I saw this game. After a career as a change leader and director of security and operational risk in oil and gas, I left to start one organization aimed to bring more women and minorities into the energy sector. With every step I took, I saw that the more women and people of color entered the field and rose to higher positions, the more companies accelerated efforts switch to renewable energies. The links between justice, the environment and the burgeoning hostile economy are clear.

Promises, setbacks and triumphs

On Earth Day and throughout the year, government and business leaders should collaborate on justice and the environment. In highlighting their work on climate, they should include discussions about what they are doing to make the promises of diversity a reality.

This includes an open discussion of setbacks and failures, not just proclamations of triumph. Americans, including investors, are understandably cautious. After years of paying lip service, they want to know that major changes are actually happening. And they want to know that managers learn from mistakes. After all, studies show that many investors Price honesty in assessing companies and their executives.

Fortunately, none of this means giving up on profits. Companies making diversity and inclusion a reality see this too higher returns.

In 2019 the Business Roundtable caused a sensation Update his declaration for the purpose of a society. Rather than exist primarily for shareholders, the Round Table CEOs said their companies would now also be about serving customers, employees, suppliers and communities – which includes protecting the environment through sustainable practices. One year later analysis The companies could not keep their vows.

When companies look to the future now, they can see it as a time of opportunity. By jointly focusing on justice and the environment, leaders can make new efforts. You can build a workforce filled with people who are committed to big, substantial change. They can turn the promises they make on Earth Day – and all year round – into reality.

Katie Mehnert is CEO of ALLY Energy, Ambassador for the US Department of Energy’s Equity in Energy initiative and author of Grow with the flow.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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