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International Women’s Day: Sustainable business leaders reveal their hopes for ‘a greener, fairer economy’

International Women's Day: Sustainable business leaders reveal their hopes for 'a greener, fairer economy'

For International Women's Day, BusinessGreen spoke to light-green economy chairmen on the nation of diversification in the sector

The pandemic has highlighted how quickly a crisis can disclose and exasperate existing gender, hasten, and class-based inequalities, while also providing a remember of how the climate emergency carries all the same likelihoods, but enlarged. Study upon study has documented how the combined effects of lower average incomes and women's capacity as primary caregivers means they typically bear the brunt of extreme weather events and are statistically more vulnerable to the food, exertion, and irrigate dearths that can be caused by a changing climate. But despite women's position on the atmosphere frontline, persevering structural prejudices imply women's tones and sentiments are often side-lined in discussions and negotiations on climate, force, and environmental issues, at high levels of both international negotiations and neighbourhood delivery.

That said, women have played a central role in 21 st century atmosphere activity. The landmark Paris Agreement was designed and brokered under the leadership and force of various ladies, including UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres and France's climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. Since then, a demonstrate movement of millions catalysed by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has significantly pushed climate up its agenda. Meanwhile, wives are increasingly at the forefront of the growing corporate and investor environment activity progress, from Apple's Lisa Jackson and l'Oreal's Alexandra Palt to Ceres' Mindy Lubber and the Principles Responsible Investment's Fiona Reynolds. And there are a lot, many more maids manipulating behind the scenes on expeditions and plan, in businesses and within communities.

But the rapidly growing green economy has a huge way to go before its gender poise reflects that of society, with the government's initial decision to field an all-male leadership team for the forthcoming COP2 6 climate conference - an imbalance it has now sightly resolved - providing a high profile example of how subjects still predominate many of the key provinces within the net zero transition. The same inequality is abounding in the field covered by green business. In the UK energy sector, merely 12 per cent of architects and 13 per cent of card tushes shall be kept by women, and while the gender pay gap is shrinking, it is still large-scale, with guys deserving on average 17.5 per cent more than women in the same roles. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of students opting for discipline, engineering, engineering, and maths( STEM) severities are still boys, with just 26 per cent of STEM graduates in 2019 across the UK maidens .

Similarly, the UK's investor community, which is set to have an outsized influence on the UK's net zero modulation due the key role in stumping the costs of early-stage, high risk climate technologies and financing the lettuce infrastructure onslaught required to decarbonise the UK's energy, structures, move, and manufacture, remains overwhelmingly male. Less than 13 per cent of UK venture capital investment teams are women , and 48 per cent of investment crews have no women at all, according the British Business Bank. It's a gender inequality that risks diminishing progress, given that investment teams with more women and ethnic minorities have been proven to outperform the "male and pale" squads that has all along been reigned the industry.

There is some evidence that gender balance is a bit better when it comes to corporate sustainability roles, but many structural and cultural challenges remain for women in businesses of all types. And more generally, ladies across the UK continue to earn less fund in the same positions as men and do 60 per cent more unpaid domestic works such as cooking, childcare and housework, a gendered subdivision of payable piece the UN has warned has been turbocharged by the pandemic as household chores and care has multiplied.

To mark International Women's Day, BusinessGreen expected some of the UK's climate, vigour, and sustainability managers for their thoughtfulness on the state of diversification within the sector and the importance of female participation and leadership. The picture that surfaces across the board is one of hope and seriousnes. The submissions stress the vital role ladies have recently been played on environment war in the UK and further afield. They emphasise the dark-green economy of the future can only be truly successful and fair if it has been established by a diverse array of parties , noting that any alternative approach runs the risk of producing climate solutions that marginalise parts of the popuation and irritate existing inequalities.

As such, there is an urgent need to boost representation of women and minorities in the ever-growing ecosystem of light-green spheres, firms, and groups driving the net zero transition. As WWF's chief economic advisor Angela Francis set it: "A greener fairer economy is not an abstract concept or a motto, it conveys real improvements in people's lifetimes - in women's souls - and we should be using all of our abilities to deliver it."

EnergyUK chief executive Emma Pinchbeck shared how she hoped her efforts to visibly juggle childcare and her enterprise on Zoom announces could break down preconceived ideas of what leader looks like. Farhana Yamin, foremost environmental solicitor and activist, spoke of being the first girl in her family to go to university and hymned the need for laws and a climate movement that attacks prejudice thought on. PwC climate lead Celine Herweijer - who is to become HSBC's first global sustainability officer later this year - paid tribute to the female commanders that have been at the forefront of the atmosphere fight thus far, and We Mean Business CEO Maria Mendiluce reflected on how successfully tackling the climate crisis would require huge amounts of "generosity of spirit", a characteristic she said had been familiar to female caregivers throughout history.

On this International Women's Day, now they are in their own words 😛 TAGEND

Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive EnergyUK, said:

The energy industry is changing rapidly. As we decarbonise, we will need an increasingly diverse personnel , is not simply to ensure we search more like the society we provide, but because we will need all the good suggestions we can get.

Just 12 per cent of the children of architects are women, so we need more diverse STEM candidates. Similarly, we need to value broader skillsets because many of our tactical challenges are social or political. Dames hold only 13 per cent of the children of executive council posteriors although that has redoubled since 2019. If we want dames to progress in our sector, we need them at the top because you can't be what you can't realize.

I have had the opportunity to put into practise much of what I preach since becoming chief executive in September - an appointment stirred possible by steps to accommodate a breastfeeding mom and flexible hours. I hope there's value in others understanding me juggling my daughter and my career( often visibly on Zoom calls) - after all the gender pay gap - 17.5 per cent in the vigor sphere, according to the ONS - is in part due to women's career routes after having children.

The industry does have measures in place to increase diversity, recent sector considers have included diversity commitments and there are initiatives spanning specific sectors, including Energy UK's own Pride in Energy network and Equality& Diversity Forum.

I am mesmerized to see whether new ways of working in the pandemic will endure, and if they will make it easier for diverse campaigners to progress - something we will be exploring more at our forthcoming Inclusion, Equality& Diversity conference in April.

Farhana Yamin, lawyer, author, organizer, and advisor to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, said:

I was the first woman in my family to go to university. The first to go into a professing, statute, and the first to out earn the three men folk. Not bad for a Muslim and a migrant who came to this country speaking only a few words of English! I was lucky to benefit from a booming 1990 s economy. International Women's Day is a date I take stock of the tremendous strides formed in my lifetime. A likelihood for me to thank the contemporaries who fought for equal opportunities so I could flourish by fighting for regulations like the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act and 1976 Race Relations Act 1976 that fixed the Equal Opportunities Commission. I am living proof that ordinances, and their implementation matter, and make a big difference!

I see my climate work through the lens of these earlier social justice contends to make a better world for everyone. Covid-1 9 and the Black Live Matter changes have uncovered that we are not all in the same boat. For 30 times, I have placed my vigor and endowment to get prone countries and communities who contributed little to climate change and will be impacted most a seat at the top table. They are still excluded from power and struggle to have their voices heard. No-one is voiceless but some are not given the microphone and even then, are ignored by the powerful.

The story of the goal of net zero radiations, of orientating the economy to respect the 1.5 C restriction and support those now facing climate related loss and injury, are the defining social justice struggles of our age. People today forget there was massive resist to movements championing feminism and ethnic equality and often the commanders of these shifts were vilified or labelled as idealists or fanaticals, sometimes both! I am sad to see the same kind of onrushes now on those resulting the fight for climate justice, including our young people, who are asking for the "unrealistic" right to be heard and their own views about climate answers that leave no one behind to be respected. I hope COP2 6 will be a turning point and build us realise the fight for climate justice is just another period in the story of securing equal opportunities and allowing all life to flourish on earth.

Maria Mendiluce, chief executive We Mean Business coalition, said:

I am aroused to see leadership from a growing number of women working to solve the climate crisis. I believe that to solve this crisis, it is essential to deeply convert our economic systems, from meat to force, from mobility to fabrics. No single person, business or country can achieve this alone. It requires a change of attitude and a different adjust of skills which I understand many brides bring to the table: collaboration, ingenuity, magnanimity, fearlessnes and feeling.

Creating a safe collaborative cavity amongst playing businesses to solve the issues that impact their part ecosystems was a core part of my work at the World Business Council for Sustained economic development and continues to be now as CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition. I have is evident that the various kinds of alterations necessary has to be a team effort. Co-creating mixtures and putting the general interest ahead of personal interests has proven to be the only way forward for societies, and certainly for numerous women at all levels in society.

Effective collaboration requires a generosity of intent, a fundamental character of human nature, and one that society has historically demanded of women in particular, with women still carrying the greater burden of domestic and caring tariffs. It was this generosity of being that offset the Paris Agreement possible under the direction of two outstanding leaders, Christiana Figueres and Laurence Tubiana, and many more women managers who are less in the public eye.

The latest discipline tells us that we are surpassing the Earth's planetary boundaries. Air pollution kills one every five people on the planet. We know there is a huge inertia in our global economic systems. But we have no time to lose when it comes to climate change. Courage and spirit are needed to accelerate the speed of alteration. I are confident that more women in leadership situations will transform the way countries, institutions and industries view and act upon these challenges along with implementing solutions to protect the world for contemporaries to come. It's part of their DNA.

With dames disproportionately affected by climate change, it is important to see more female utters on leader programmes being part of the crucial decisions that will determine how we accelerate action to the levels compelled.

Angela Francis, manager advisor of financials at WWF, said:

On International Women's Day, I think it is useful to reflect how we can bring the sum of all our aptitudes - all the diversity of thought and imagination - to bear on the mission of our contemporary, delivering a greener, fairer economy for all. This is certainly a challenge that needs the skills of all of us!

Importantly, a greener and fairer economy will benefit those who need it most; the poorest and more vulnerable globally, those who would suffer most from unchecked climate change and biodiversity loss. Very often that means black and chocolate-brown women in the poorest countries in the world are present in farming and food production.

We know that investing in greening our improvement is the best way to build back better post-Covid in the UK, because it will generate the jobs and business opportunities that make-up us resilient to future shocks and competitive in the net zero and quality restorative economy of the future. The same is true globally, particularly in farming. It's critical for parties and planet that we move from conventional industrial patterns of agriculture that drive climate change and biodiversity loss, to more agro-ecological farm skills. This also has major welfares for the women who work and live in farming parishes around the world.

Not merely are farm workers little exposed to dangerous and deadly pesticides, agro-ecological farming that works with natural organizations necessary knowledge and skills that promote better ownership frameworks and employment opportunities. Agro-ecological farming increases job opportunities and wages, especially for women. Too, various types of harvests and different income streams associated with agro-ecological systems reduce exposure to crop downfalls and pests, and improve resilience, home nutrient security and regional food chains, all of which benefit women.

A greener fairer economy is not an abstract concept or a slogan, it symbolizes real improvements in people's life-times - in women's lifetimes - and we should be using all of our knacks to deliver it.

Dr Celine Herweijer, world-wide climate change leader, and partner at PwC UK, said:

It's been an incredible motivation for me personally to have such strong and superb girl chairwomen at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis over the past decade or two - Christiana Figueres, Rachel Kyte, Connie Hedegaard, Winnie Byanyima, Gina McCarthy, Mindy Lubber. It's tough to words check as there are so many - mediators, generators, scientists, designers, businesswomen - all making a critical contribution. It's great to see gals glinting throughout the climate movement, and I've seen and felt a huge amount of collaboration, approval and camaraderie.

With sustainability now finally, and rightfully, shifted to the boardroom, we need to really pay attention to ensure that female talent goes right to the top. Not unsurprisingly, as with other sectors and industries, female image in atmosphere leadership personas troughs with rank - particularly in the corporate macrocosm. This again glints a light on the systemic challenges of gender diversity in boardrooms and senior leadership more broadly.

Reflecting on International Women's Day and in this important decade of atmosphere act, it's our character, our opportunity and responsibility as female chairmen to show how we can radically collaborate to create change, and as we do so, to "pay it forward" to help those future presidents fulfil their potential.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said:

I've been in clean energy for over 20 times and one of its most important things I've learned is the importance of supporting others. Being honest and celebrating other businesswomen's success is a great way to start.

The main barrier to gender diversity in all companies is that it requires systemic changes in culture, manipulate programmes, and financing tiers. Most, if not all, business have the capacity to move economy savings. And any firm with a diversity problem is likely be more inefficient and less innovative. These publications should be central to how any business is run and not treated in isolation.

All business , not just green ones, need to look at career development for women in areas of under-representation. Promoting flexible working for both genders is one way to do this as it recognises that many women's jobs will be enabled if guys take over an equal character in caring for dependants.

The bigger picture is we need to create an inclusive culture where women see energy as an alluring busines option. This starts at a young age, heartening more girls and young women to choose to study STEM subjects which are crucial in the sector. It also signifies showcasing role model and promoting professions across the industry.

Sagarika Charterjee, conductor of climate change at PRI, and COP2 6 high-level advocates team finance conduct, said:

Women leadership has a critical role to play, and there are two reasons. The first is that maidens are more impacted by climate because of the role they have as caregivers; they are more likely to be displaced by flooding, and more vulnerable to extreme weather events. The second is that we need to have women not only factored in, but represented at every single level as we tackle climate change. That implies at the political level, at the technical and scientific level and at the inspirational' hearts and minds' level. We need political digits and corporate board-level climate competency that includes representation of women, and we need the mobilisation that is done on climate change - and the changes we legislate - to very much think about women and include maids as leaders.

Last week we saw Citigroup's brand-new CEO Jane Fraser commit the bank to net zero on her first day. The PRI is still reviewing that net zero commitment, but I thought it was quite a symbolic thing she has done, on her first day. This year we have also seen the US re-join the Paris Agreement, and speaking in a more personal ability, that winning combination of Joe Biden with Kamala Harris enables us to tackle these key challenges in very different ways to what we have over the last few years. The US climate leadership that we are now expecting to see at the Biden climate summit on April 22 and the domestic scale-up in climate policy will enable better cooperation at an international level between the US and with the EU and with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, involving the strong cooperation with China. At the investor level, some of the female supervisors that are extremely influential today are Anne Simpson from CalPERS, who has been the driving force behind CA100 +, and Fiona Reynolds as PRI CEO.

There is a clear need for female presidents to address the climate challenge, so they are represented and gender really is factored in at every single level.

Living in Tottenham[ in northern London ], I was close to Black Lives Matter declarations[ during the course of its pandemic ], which is of course related to this conversation, having regard to the deepened difference that you get from climate and the state effects of climate change. We've seen how susceptible the BAME community has been through the pandemic...

On a personal level, as someone who is a working mum, this pandemic has been rather trying! ... This is very small compared to numerous people's challenges, but we appeared after my sister-in-law's teenagers classifies for three days of the week for one period. It was hard, and of course some people had[ places like] that all the time ... That reinforces, for me, how we need inequalities to be addressed at every level, including for professionals such as myself.

Hege Saebjornsen, country sustainability manager at IKEA UK& Ireland, said:

At IKEA, we are strong advocates for gender equality and diversity. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we recognise that ensuring a diverse and all-inclusive workplace manufactures good business feel and is the only way we will be able to solve the composite and interdependent challenges of climate change.

"I strongly believe that the most diverse a structure, "the worlds largest" its ability to respond to change. Having a wide range of ordeals and aptitude is integral to providing multiple perspectives, events and lore to tackle the changes and challenges our communities and planet face. That is why we need diverse - be that more female and/ or minority - leadership in the sustainability space to provide new ways of theory, behaving, leading and evaluating change.

The climate crisis requires us all, regardless of gender, hasten or sex orientation to step up to the challenge, radically rethink our intake wonts and ensure that sustainability is entwine into every part of our lives. It's merely "the worlds largest" resilient jobs who will survive, and the best way to do this is to bring in those who help us think outside our own box."

Iliana Portugues, head of UK and National Grid Ventures Innovation, said:

Transitioning to net zero by 2050 in a fair and sustainable way requires commitment to diversity and inclusiveness of foresee. We know we need a mix of perspectives, events and knowledge to fully understand and solve complex challenges, and to achieve this we must engage the whole population. However, the vitality industry still has some action to go.

In path with this year's International Women's Day theme of choose to challenge, there's opportunity for commanders to take personal responsibility for gender balance and equality. Industries need to attract and help female geniu by actively spotlighting role models, celebrating women's successes and inspiring young girls to consider STEM. We need to retain this talent by implementing training, improvement and networking programmes to support progress, and commit to all-inclusive practices to produce the whole workforce, each and every individual, on the journey.

Energy and the environment are world-wide existential challenges. It is in our own best interest to have a net zero workforce that truly represents and manifests civilization in order to address them; females are 50 per cent of this equation."

Read more: businessgreen.com

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