#4: Diversity and sustainability: stronger together

Thijmen Meijer
17 April 2023

In this article we show you how DEI and ESG can work together and share some tips on how you can build both at the same time.

We live in a cost-conscious world. Interest rates are higher than what we have been used to in the last couple of years, money is scarce – although not as much as skilled talent —, and companies are more cautious to commit to further spending. Unfortunately, this also means in numerous instances, that DEI and/or ESG programs and initiatives are some of the first ones to be curtailed, citing budgetary concerns. This doesn't have to be this way. DEI and ESG programs should definitely be looked at as revenue generators, and not as fixed or variable costs. And not only because of the previously cited reasons for how they act as talent magnets and retainers, but you are truly investing in the future profitability of your organization if you don’t put them on the back burner. And huge corporations, like PwC , are also slowly realizing that one cannot go without the other. Nevertheless, it is true that this is not always so clearly understood by all parties of an organization. That is why we want to help you with some insights to help you with your internal sales process and show you how DEI and ESG inherently work together. We will also share some tips on how you can build and leverage existing structures and frameworks to elevate both.

Sustainability is more than just protecting our planet and the environment. It's also about people and the communities and society that we all live in. It’s about the everyday choices that individuals and professional organizations make, ones that are made with an inclusive mindset. Inclusive toward all members of a community, keeping them all in mind regardless of any or all dimensions, such as including race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. Sustainability celebrates our diverse world and includes them in all decisions that are made about our future. “Nothing about us without us”.
Why is diversity important for sustainability? Firstly, because it reflects the reality of the world we live in. We live in a diverse and interconnected world where different people and cultures coexist. Secondly, diversity brings different perspectives and experiences to the table, which can lead to more creative and innovative solutions. And thirdly, diversity promotes social justice and human rights, as well, both of which are fundamental to sustainability.

Now that we established the connection between the two; let’s zoom in on the practical side of things, and see how you can combine your ESG and DEI efforts and create synergies that would empower both. In our previous article, we showed you some practical examples of how you can start sustainability campaigns and initiatives within your organization, rather easily. If you combine t​​hese with an inclusive and diverse mindset, you can join your efforts. For example, as part of your “green days” you can not only focus on helping your close environment, but you can also make sure that you do this in underrepresented communities around you.
In the same way, as you would start green discussion panels, you can combine this with DEI meetings, and come up with ways of diversifying your supply chain – whether it’s an actual product supply chain, as well as your talent supply one as well. Publishing job ads that clearly state your diversity and sustainability goals and commitments not only allows you to attract from new undiscovered talent pools – such as minority groups or less dominant social groups – but also creates accountability within your organization, helping you achieve your ESG goals and targets.

Focusing and drawing attention to other important sustainable practices, such as the circular economy, you can also save money, by prolonging and investing in tools and solutions that are in use for as long as possible. A great example for this, although it might feel a bit bit far off, is IKEA, which we already discussed in our previous article. IKEA is heavily investing in becoming more and more circular: by planting its own trees for future furniture production, as well as launching “fix your own furniture” campaigns instead of promoting the purchase of new ones. But there are more everyday examples of this, that any company can do, such as starting “garage sales” of tools and equipment that your company might no longer need. By implementing these solutions and tools in your organization’s life, you are again able to achieve multiple sustainability and diversity goals at the same time.
Diversity and sustainability do not only belong but are also stronger together. A diverse and inclusive community always brings more perspectives and experiences to the table, which ultimately leads to more creative and innovative solutions. Similarly, diversity promotes social inclusivity and open dialogues and discussions, which are fundamental to sustainability. Therefore, if we want to achieve long-term sustainable development, we must embrace diversity and create many possibilities for synergies between the two.

In our next articles, we will take a look at other ESG-related topics, such as greenwashing, sustainability practices in unexpected places, and also the potential power of a “pro-sustainability” business network. We will also publish articles more related to HR trends and recruitment so follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with all the latest that we publish!

If you and your organization are ready to take the first steps and would like to partner with us in finding the best talent for a more sustainable future, click on the button below, and we'll be happy to discuss things further!
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