Four Lessons in Sustainability from Google’s Diversity Debacle

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Sustainability Practitioners working in HR, Internal Affairs, Legal or Tech have an advantage over their co-workers.  Training in sustainability includes training in diversity, transparency and stakeholder engagement.  These are key concerns facing Google in the wake of the anti-diversity memo put out by one of its employees.

Questioning the value of diversity has gained momentum with the advent of the Donald Trump administration.  Trump has ordered a review of affirmative action policies, proposed banning transgender people in the military and advocated curbing immigration.

If corporations follow Trumps lead, they would harm their own bottom line.

Lesson One – Companies with greater diversity earn better profits.

Research from MIT, the Institute for International Economics and DiversityInc show that corporations with a more diverse workforce, whether gender, race or cultural, perform better than companies which are less diverse.  McKinsey&Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform those in the bottom quartile by 15%; those in the top quartile for ethnically diverse companies outperform by 35%!

Lesson Two – Companies with greater diversity build brand and reputation.

Millennials and Generation Z are becoming the spending force of society.  They value inclusion, social purpose and diversity.  Nielson found that 72% of them are willing to spend more on sustainable brands.  They actively seek employment with socially responsible companies.  Talent acquisition is dependent on sustainability and diversity within the corporate structure.

Lesson Three – Diversity improves decision making and broadens stakeholder engagement.

Women in technology are outnumbered by men 3 to 1 (including at Google).  The numbers are no better in R&D and on boards of directors, and even worse for Hispanics and blacks. The systems approach taught to Sustainability Practitioners welcomes all voices to participate.  Research shows that more is definitely better for creativity, decision making and inclusiveness.

Lesson Four – Transparency is a problem within the tech community. 

CSE’s research Sustainability Trends in Silicon Valley found that tech companies have a poor record of communicating sustainability practices.  When leaders and employees keep quiet, the corporation cannot know how many within its ranks think like Google’s memo writer.  Women in tech must navigate nameless, faceless adversaries.  With sustainability reporting, these issues are brought to light and can be remedied.

Wharton Business School Research found that members of successful diverse teams earn more. As Sustainability Practitioners champion diversity within their work environments, they benefit their companies and themselves.

CSE’s Sustainability Practitioner Program (Advanced Edition 2017) addresses these issues and many more with its in-person trainings coming to New York, Toronto and San Diego.  CSE’s Sustainability Academy offers affordable, flexible online training with a Diploma on Corporate Sustainability,

Certificate on ESG Performance for Investors & Sustainability Professionals, an introduction to Social Impact Assessment and SROI, and other courses.

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