On International Women’s Day, CIWM’s CEO, Dr Colin Church, talks about the need for diversity and inclusion in all areas, including the resources and waste management sector, and how CIWM is playing its part…
CIWM was proud recently to launch its new Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Statement, setting out the standard we expect to be measured against as an organisation, and the standard we consider appropriate for all individual CIWM members in all roles and functions.
We at CIWM firmly believe there are many good reasons to promote and value inclusion and diversity. Firstly, there is of course the strong moral case. In this day and age, society at large rightly considers that people should be valued for who they are and what they bring, not dismissed, undervalued or mistreated on the basis of some characteristic they don’t share with the observer. And that applies to our sector as much as any other.
“There is more we can and should all do to promote gender equality as well as wider diversity and inclusion in all we do. Please do your bit, as a member or not, to help make our sector welcoming and nurturing to people from all backgrounds.”
Secondly, there is the practical case. If we work together in diverse teams, involving people with different perspectives, then we can find new solutions to existing and new problems, we can better understand the diverse society we are helping and we can have more resilient and successful organisations.
If we discriminate unfairly against any individual or group, excluding them from the work or denigrating their contribution, then we are denying our organisations and society the benefit of the skills those people can bring. If we only work with people who see things as we do, who have the same background and experiences, then we will be condemned to make the same mistakes.
Thirdly, of course, there is the legal case. Discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics is just plain illegal, as well as being immoral and short-sighted.
Being a professional in any sector means recognising the relevant professional standards and striving to meet them in all we do. Being a professional in CIWM means not only knowing your anaerobic digestion from your in-vessel composting, but it also means behaving professionally. As the Statement says, this means CIWM members should:
- maintain good standards of practice, competence and conduct in this area as in others
- treat everyone with respect and value them as individuals
- embrace diversity and the benefits that brings to the workplace
- have an inclusive approach to working, supporting and communicating with others
- hold others to account for maintaining these standards and encourage and disseminate good practice.
The same is true of our Affiliated Organisations (AOs), who through the new AO code of conduct must also follow the same standards.
Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day 2018, so today the focus is on gender. I am proud that CIWM is making progress on this (my senior team at HQ is 50:50; the chair of the executive committee is a woman, the President is a man) but as I have said before, this is very much a journey, not a done deal.
There is more we can and should all do to promote gender equality as well as wider diversity and inclusion in all we do. Please do your bit, as a member or not, to help make our sector welcoming and nurturing to people from all backgrounds. That way, we can continue to work in the best sector there is.