I’m delighted to publish this strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion at the Climate Change Committee (CCC). The CCC plays a unique role, under the framework of the Climate Change Act and similar legislation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We are tasked with providing independent analysis and advice on climate issues, one of the most important challenges facing people across the UK.
The target of our advice is principally Government and Parliament, but our responsibility is to the people of this country. The change in the climate has already affected everyone living in the UK, but the impacts are not being felt equally. The transition to Net Zero will impact on the lives of people in every community and every region; achieving a fair transition is now the central concern. We have a duty to understand these changes in depth, to collect and represent the views of a broad a range of people, and to communicate our analysis in the most inclusive way.
So, it is vital that the CCC is representative of everyone who lives and works in the United Kingdom. It’s often said – wrongly – that ‘climate change’ is a white, middle-class pursuit. My own experience is very different. Communities across our nation have strong views on what should be done to tackle climate change. Those views are not uniform. There is a rich discussion in every culture. But not everyone has a platform to express their views – and too often the people working on advice and analysis are drawn from a narrow set of societal groups. It’s our duty to broaden representation and bring genuine diversity to the climate discussion. That starts with recognising that the CCC itself must become more diverse. Our advice will be more impactful if people outside the CCC recognise us as an inclusive organisation, which gives opportunities for under-represented groups to contribute to discussions about climate action.
We have some way to go. As the evidence in this strategy shows, we are a small organisation which has achieved some success in improving gender equality, but has struggled on other important indicators of diversity, especially race. We aim to address that, through changes in the way we work, conscious choices about our team culture and especially through our people and our recruitment.
I’m excited to publish this strategy – and to invite public scrutiny. I hope we can play our role in broadening participation in one of the most exciting topics of debate in the UK today.