The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations

Publication date: 
July, 2014

The report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,” is the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement. It surveyed 191 environmental non-profits, 74 government environmental agencies, and 28 leading environmental grant making foundations to investigate their gender and racial diversity composition, the majority of which state diversification as a “value.” The study included confidential interviews of 21 environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds and experience.

Report Findings:

1. The Green Ceiling

Despite increasing racial diversity in the United States, the racial composition in environmental organizations and agencies has not broken the 12% to 16% “green ceiling” that has been in place for decades.

2. Unconscious Bias, Discrimination, and Insular Recruiting

Confidential interviews with environmental professionals and survey data highlight alienation and “unconscious bias” as factors hampering recruitment and retention of talented people of color.

3. Lackluster Effort and Disinterest in Addressing Diversity

Efforts to attract and retain talented people of color have been lackluster across the environmental movement.

The Result: An overwhelmingly white “Green Insiders’ Club.”

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