As we approach Earth Day, ITI will join many communities and organizations engaged in discourse relating to the environment this week. While many discussions around town will focus on waste, energy conservation and air pollution, ITI will highlight an issue that garners a little less attention but is key to tackling environmental challenges: diversity in the area of sustainability.
ITI will convene experts today from our member tech companies, government, and advocacy organizations to discuss the timely and critical topic of how workforce diversity plays a role in promoting sustainability. The event, “Diversity and Inclusion- Sustainability's Missing Link,” will feature an accomplished group of panelists from Google, Microsoft, ITI, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The discussion will be moderated by Brentin Mock of CityLab, with special remarks from Benjamin Wilson, Chairman of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., and a longtime environmental justice leader.
Minorities and the economically disadvantaged are often hit first and hardest by environmental harms. People of color are more likely to live near pollution sources, more likely to suffer from environment-induced health affects like asthma, and more likely to be exposed to contaminated drinking water. The reality that minority populations are most often the ones at risk from the effects of our planet’s changing climate and weather patterns can be traced, in part, to inadequate minority representation where it’s needed most: the governmental agencies, advocacy groups and organizations that design, advocate for and implement environmental and sustainability policy in communities around the country.
Diversity and inclusion has been a prominent conversation in environmental organizations for years where, despite strides for gender diversity, racial diversity lags behind. Our discussion will bring technology and sustainability policy experts together to explore how an increased focus on racial diversity can contribute to a more equitable and sustainable environment for all while helping our member companies’ thrive. We have seen glimmers of success in this regard – Grist’s latest Meet The Fixers features a diverse list of emerging environmental leaders, most using technology to address environmental concerns. And organizations like Center for Diversity and the Environment and the Green Leadership Trust are strengthening the pipeline for minority leaders in environment and sustainability. By tapping the lessons learned from other sectors, our companies are poised to respond to the challenge.
As our member companies lead sustainability efforts around the globe, they respond to tough challenges by offering innovative solutions that reduce carbon emissions, save water and energy, and improve quality of life. ITI hopes this event can illuminate success stories within the industry, and highlight the benefits of diversity in this field, while also offering actionable solutions to shift the paradigm.