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The Race Report 2023

February 2024 by Helen Filby

We’re very proud to have been a part of the 2023 RACE Report, following successful involvement in 2022, the year of its launch. We have joined 142 organisations representing 12,900 employees across the environmental charity sector to submit data on the racial diversity of our team members.

What is the RACE Report?

The RACE Report is sponsored by Students Organising for Sustainability UK and stands for (Racial Action for the Climate Emergency). The main aims and objectives involve working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the environment, climate, sustainability and conservation sector – one of the least diverse sectors in the UK. RACE is doing this by asking organisations to be transparent.

How were we involved?

Involvement in the report includes the submission of data on the racial diversity of our organisation, from part-time team members to our Trust. This data is then collated and analysed, resulting in a ‘state of’ diversity within the sector report (The RACE Report) being produced. Different from last year, all organisations are now identified within the report rather than submitting anonymously.

The Carbon Literacy Project, and others, have also received a transparency card*, which maps out our data submission and will show progress in different areas, year on year. Another new section to the report was a Staff Perceptions Survey which aims to contextualise diversity data within the lived experiences of team members. Ultimately, the aim of releasing data through the report is to increase transparency across the sector.

The data is collected anonymously to protect the identity of team members and is a voluntary contribution. We didn’t have a 100% participation rate this year, which is something that we need to work on, in order to get a clearer picture of the makeup of our organisation, and what areas need improvement.

What were the findings?

The overall findings of the second instalment of The RACE Report remained broadly consistent with the previous year’s report. Namely, that 6% of employees identify as people of colour and other racially or ethnically minoritised groups. This compares with an average across the UK workforce of 15% of employees who identify as people of colour and other racially or ethnically minoritised groups. This shows that rapid action is needed to ensure the sector addresses this lack of representation and reflects the diversity of the modern British workforce.

Why is the Report important?

The RACE Report summarised perfectly why racial diversity in the environment sector is so important:

“The climate and ecological crisis is disproportionately affecting people of colour, marginalised groups and people in the Global South due to historic and continued injustices. To ensure this is addressed meaningfully, and delivers on climate justice, the environment sector needs to represent the communities most implicated by tackling its current lack of racial diversity.

We need those most impacted, yet least responsible, to be empowered inclusively to be part of the solution. Environmental justice and social justice are not separate issues. It is vital that the work that the environmental sector is attempting to achieve for nature and the climate is inclusive of and carried out by the diverse communities of this country.”

Manu Maunganidze, from The RACE Report team, said:

“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. 

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. 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.”

Reflecting on our results

We are also encouraged by some of the results of our Staff Perceptions survey, such as 100% of our team who contributed saying that they enjoy working with us. We aim to create an inclusive, friendly and welcoming environment, so it’s pleasing to know that those who participated are happy in their roles.

However, we know that we still have a long way to go in terms of improving the diversity in our team to be more in line with the representation of people who contribute to the UK workforce. We also have more work to do in terms of action on equality, diversity and inclusion measures. Whilst many points across our systems and processes (including HR, management and governance, targets and strategy) were either in progress or fully implemented at the time of the Report submission, some had not yet been implemented, which is where we will need to focus some efforts this year.

We’d like to thank everyone in The RACE Report team for their kind encouragement and assistance with queries and for ensuring the process of collecting and submitting data runs as smoothly as possible. We value being involved in the Report, as we know that measuring where we are currently at, versus where we need to be, is the only way we can better understand and improve, year on year.

*Find our transparency card and read the 2023 RACE Report in full at race-report.uk.

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