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Environmental charities have a big race problem

A second study of diversity in the green non-profit fundraising sector has revealed a shocking lack of non-white staff, with the vast majority of organisations now committing to improving representation. 

five human hands on brown surface

The RACE Report is a UK-wide data transparency initiative aimed at getting more racial and ethnic minorities into British environmental charities. 2023’s edition has laid bare the strikingly homogenous nature of the workforce, with just 6% identifying as a person of colour (POC). 

This is slightly down on 2022’s figures, a year in which 7% of staff identified as non-white British. However, the sample size, and lack of historic studies with which to identify a clear trend, means the decrease is of low statistical importance.

More concerning is the fact 41% of non-white British staff in environmental charities believed they had ‘adapted’ to fit the culture of their employer, although 95% stated their workplace was an enjoyable place to spend time, and the majority agreed their organisation actively identified and opposed racism through policymaking. 

Nevertheless, it’s important to note this view was most prevalent among white identities, with 68% in agreement, significantly more than the 51% POC. Non-white British were also more likely to have reported or experience racial harassment at work, although the vast majority — 74% — did state they ‘belonged’ at their organisation. 

11% of the 142 charities in the research — accounting for 12,900 employees — said they were in the process of publishing data on their race equality pay gap, 63% had introduced a senior leader with official responsibilities for improving diversity and inclusion, up on the previous year’s 44%, and 85% had implemented specific, regular inclusion activities. 

‘It’s encouraging to see how much the sector’s engagement with racial diversity has grown in just one year. The more data we have at our disposal, the better equipped we are to shape best practice and ensure we are amplifying underrepresented voices in the fight for social and environmental justice,’ said Manu Maungnidze, of The RACE Report Team. 

‘Each organisation who has come forward to contribute to this report has done a brilliant thing in voluntarily submitting their data. We now need to make sure that this engagement translates into more meaningful progress,’ he continued. ‘That means reflecting on what the data tells us, but also really listening to the lived experiences of the individuals who power our sector. It’s only through having these difficult conversations, learning from each other, and implementing inclusive practices that we’ll ensure next year’s report tells a story of both an appetite for change and tangible improvement.’

More on climate change:

South East Rivers Trust completes major project for World Wetlands Day

1-in-13 new build homes located in flood zones

Predicting the future of AI in sustainability

Image: Clay Banks

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