More than 70 environmental charities have pledged to diversify their recruitment practices and provide accessible employment pathways, as part of the community charity Groundwork’s Force of Nature campaign.
WWF-UK, Wildlife and Countryside Link, the National Trust, RSPB, The Woodland Trust and the Bat Conservation Trust are among the charities to sign the pledge, which aims to make the sector more inclusive.
By signing the pledge, charities say they will commit to an action plan designed to make their organisations more diverse and adopt recruitment practices that proactively seek to address a lack of diversity in the sector.
The pledge also includes a commitment to open up pathways for diverse talent by creating entry-level positions, with prospects for career progression.
Groundwork UK said the pledge is a “starting-off point” for its Force of Nature campaign, aiming to help organisations develop action plans to address specific challenges to diversity in the sector.
The charity has also collated a variety of charity resources to help organisations fulfil the pledge and is encouraging environmental charities to share examples of best practice to boost diversity in the sector.
The campaign, which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, builds on Groundwork UK’s New to Nature programme – a scheme that saw nearly 100 young people from under-represented groups access paid work placements in various environmental organisations.
Graham Duxbury, chief executive of Groundwork UK, said: “The diversity challenge for the environmental sector is well documented, and being addressed through a range of complementary initiatives. Making sure our recruitment and development practices are inclusive and accessible is an important piece of the jigsaw.
“As a movement in the midst of a climate and nature crisis we need to be as effective as possible at engaging all sections of society in our work. We’ll only do this if our workforce better reflects and understands the diversity of the communities we’re working in and with.”
Richard Benwell, chief executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said the charity would take a “wide range of action on these commitments” over the next year, including a big-picture action plan on diversity and inclusion, a focus on widening debiasing processes for recruitment and delivering anti-racism training for all of its staff.
Nagina Kayani, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at WWF-UK, said the charity was committed to addressing the lack of diversity in the sector, saying: “WWF already anonymises applications, has sought to broaden advertising to reach a wider pool of candidates, and has carried out an inclusive recruitment pilot with an external organisation to improve our approach.
“We also are looking at creating more entry level opportunities via apprenticeships.”
Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB, said the charity recognised that it was not wholly reflective of the communities it serves.
“We are determined to address this and our work with this collaboration led by Groundwork has brought us together, taking joint steps forward and sharing best practice.
“Alongside Force of Nature, we are currently particularly targeting our actions around recruitment, progression and inclusion,” she added.