Environmental Movement Lacking Diversity, Report Finds

Environmental Movement Lacking Diversity, Report Finds

The racial and ethnic makeup of staff, leadership, and boards of leading environmental organizations remains overwhelmingly white, a report from Green 2.0, an advocacy initiative aimed at increasing diversity across the movement, finds. 

The second edition of the initiative's Transparency Report Card examined self-reported diversity data submitted voluntarily to GuideStar from the top forty foundations and top forty NGOs focused on the environment and found that people of color continue to be overlooked for leadership positions at these organizations. While foundation participation in the survey was flat on a year-over-year basis, diversity at the staff, senior staff, and board levels at the top forty foundations fell, with the share of people of color declining from 39 percent to 26 percent for full-time staff, from 33 percent to 4 percent for senior staff, and from 28 percent to 21 percent for board members. Among the top forty NGOs, the share of people of color declined from 27 percent to 22 percent for all full-time staff, rose from 14 percent to 21 percent for senior staff, and fell slightly from 22 percent to 21 percent for board members. While survey participation was better for NGOs, a handful of organizations with a significant profile in the environmental field, including Conservation International, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Oceana, reported no data. 

"For the past five years, we've been working to ensure that the environmental movement and its leaders reflect the current U.S. workforce demographics," said Green 2.0 executive director Whitney Tome. "Communities of color bring to bear experience and perspective on both problems and pathways to power building. As an organization, we plan to take a more aggressive approach to calling out the environmental movement for their lack of diversity. This is just the beginning. Environmental groups are now on notice."