Even in the Sustainability Sector, Half of Companies Don’t Walk the Talk on Diversity; Emotional Tax Paid


Sept. 16, 2021– (LONDON) You would expect the sustainability sector to embrace diversity principles completely. It doesn’t.

Only about half of companies walk the talk on diversity, according to this survey of diversity trends in the sustainability industry by a group called “Diversity in Sustainability”:


The group of people in the survey who thought their organisation was doing the best job on equity, diversity and inclusion? White men — at 63% (still only 63%).

The survey results are fascinating — see the link in the caption of the chart above.

One element that caught my eye was the continued “emotional tax” paid by women and people of colour as companies transition to a more inclusive culture. See this section:

Selected Barriers for people of colour

In interviews with people of colour who work in
the profession, some of the barriers repeatedly
mentioned include the following:
Burden of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) falling
to people of colour
: In organizations with
few people of colour, many stated that they
felt the burden of EDI fell to them, with the
need to constantly recall stories and traumas
from their lived experiences.
EDI can be a
heavy load, made even heavier for those who
find themselves with EDI work in addition to
their everyday assignments, and without the
necessary resources. For organizations with few
resources, such as non-profits, this burden is
even more acute
. The global non-profit focused
on workplaces that work for women, Catalyst,
has extensive research on this phenomenon,
known as an “emotional tax”.
The weight of representation: For organizations
with few people of colour, many state that
they often feel that they must represent their
racial/ethnic background “perfectly”
to ensure
it doesn’t affect future hiring opportunities or
reinforce negative stereotypes.
“Otherism” distracting from someone’s
humanity: People of colour note that their
differences become their defining characteristic
and distract from the work they are doing in the

(I added the emphasis).

The survey report is full of cool charts. Mission here:

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