Disparity has descended upon the nation’s top green companies as the number of people of color employed is noticeably decreasing.
Green 2.0, a project launched in 2013 to increase racial diversity in the environmental movement, released its second annual diversity report card this week. Without exception, large NGOs and foundations are receiving poor marks. Results were “based on data voluntarily submitted to GuideStar, a database of information about nonprofits, by the top 40 environmental NGOs and top 40 foundations (those with the largest grants received or funds awarded). “
The report showed a great disparity among senior staff positions at foundations. From 2017 to 2018, the number of people of color in this group dropped from 33% to 4%. The report made no mention of the reason behind the drop. Interestingly, the proportion of white senior staff at foundations climbed from 67% to 96%.
Environmental NGOs scored slightly better, increasing senior staff of color from 14% to 21%. But within the ranks of full-time NGO staff and board members, racial diversity fell.
Despite many organizations electing to share their information, some big named companies did not. Oceana, a well-known ocean advocacy organization, and Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the biggest fund providers of environmental efforts in the nation, declined to release their respective numbers.
Robert Raben, founder of the initiative, during a press call, said, “It is mind-blowing to me that NGOs in 2019 are slow to understand the importance of diversity, to highlight it and to make it a priority.” He further stated that “It is inconceivable to me, but regrettably I live in the world in which ‘inconceivable’ continues to happen.”
After the post-release of the report card on mid-week, a spokeswoman for Pew Charitable Trusts told The Chronicle of Philanthropy that the charity is “committed to creating a workplace that provides equal employment opportunity, values diversity, and fosters inclusion.” Looking at the composition of board members and staff at the U.S. Climate Action Network, women and people of color dominate. In 2018, two-thirds of full-time staff, 100% of senior staff, and almost 40% of board members were people of color. But in the last two years, the entire senior staff were women.*