Pride and climate action at the Carbon Trust

rainbow flag at Pride celebration

The United Nations describe climate change as a “threat multiplier”. This means the crisis will amplify existing injustices, making life harder for already disadvantaged groups. One of these groups is the LGBTQIA+ community.

Every year, Pride Month in June coincides with World Environment Day on 5 June. This provides a timely opportunity for us to highlight this intersection. This year we are also setting out the steps being taken to prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in our work and internal processes.

How are LGBTQIA+ communities impacted?

The most immediate and obvious impact of climate change is an increase in the volume and extremes of weather events, from storms to flooding, droughts and heatwaves. Research from the UK charity Stonewall shows almost one in five LGBTQIA+ people have experienced homelessness in their lives. This creates greater risks of having a safe place to shelter during extreme weather events, like life-threatening heat and flooding. 

These extreme weather conditions, along with rising seas, are predicted to displace 1.2 billion people by 2050. LGBTQIA+ climate migrants may need to enter countries with discriminatory attitudes and laws. This compounds the vulnerability of their displacement with the increasing likelihood of violence and discrimination, including state sanctioned. 

The LGBTQIA+ community also experiences higher poverty rates. Communities with less financial security are more likely to be exposed to environmental stressors. This can include being at greater risk of heat and pollution because they cannot afford to insulate themselves from climate extremes, or associated price increases. 

Despite this, there is little space within leading climate spaces for specific, intentional discussions about LGBTQIA+ or intersectional representation. We support creating spaces and elevating these voices across the climate sector and within our organisation.

What is the Carbon Trust doing?

We want to create a future where DE&I is seamlessly woven into our work and our organisation. We also want to be able to provide space to consider the unique challenges faced by different marginalised groups. 
This is a real priority for us, but we are still at the beginning of what will be a long journey towards this vision.

Over the past year we have been through an extensive consultation with staff, completing audits, interviews and focus groups to understand how we are performing in DE&I. We are now focusing on developing five key areas to accelerate our DE&I journey. First, we are training our leadership team to ensure a shared understanding of DE&I and preparing them to act as role models and drive change. We will then provide extensive training throughout all levels of the organisation to improve understanding and embed inclusive behaviours. Alongside this we will critically assess our employee lifecycle. This includes looking at where changes in working practices and behaviours could improve inclusivity and support a more diverse talent pipeline. Underlying these areas of work are strategy and governance. We will develop a strong strategy to prioritise, broaden and re-energise our DE&I work, as well as putting in place governance structures through a leadership council. This will be a successor to our existing Diversity Inclusion and Advisory Group, it will work to drive transition, review and report on progress.    

Ultimately, we want to ensure the Carbon Trust is an authentically inclusive and collaborative place to work, which centres marginalised voices. This is important to ensure we are effectively advancing a decarbonised and just future for all.