Business leaders: Invest in racial equity to combat the climate crisis

www.fastcompany.com
4 min read
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Every sector—from business to finance, energy, government, and beyond—must also invest in racial equity, clean energy, and green jobs if we truly want to rebuild America's economy.
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Two threads are woven into the fabric of each crisis facing our country today: deeply rooted racism and glaring income disparity. These twin crises—the social construct of racial discrimination and the socioeconomic categorizations that divide our country—are magnified further when viewed alongside the threat multiplier of climate change. All three burdens disproportionately impact communities of color.

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Today, the philanthropic sector and corporate America are grappling with our own roles in the perpetuation and ending of racism in this country. We must have a similar reckoning with the climate crisis. To address both racism and climate change, we at the Kresge Foundation recently joined the Donors of Color Network's Climate Funders Justice Pledge, which calls for at least 30% of our environment program funding to be dedicated to climate justice organizations led by Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other people of color. Inherent in that pledge is the imperative to being fully transparent about where our funding lands and the results we seek. This type of commitment to climate justice cannot, and should not, be unique to philanthropy. It is fitting and right that President Joe Biden has placed racial equity and justice at the heart of a sweeping set of presidential directives aimed at tackling the public health crisis, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, the criminal justice crisis, and the white supremacy crisis. It is equally fitting that the Biden administration is pursuing environmental justice and climate change through a companion suite of executive actions.

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In 2020 alone, the U.S. experienced a record-breaking 22 weather and climate disasters that caused approximately $95 billion in damages, killing at least 262 people and injuring many more. One power outage or raging flood caused by a climate disaster ripples and ricochets to countless other forms of…
Morgan Clendaniel
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