Diversity, equity and inclusion at EDF

Young people holding signs supporting clean energy

EDF believes that meaningful and durable solutions arise from communities whose lives and livelihoods are at stake.

We embrace diversity, equity and inclusion as central to our mission, excellence and success.

We strive to better understand, cultivate and support a diversity of perspectives in our work. We want to make EDF a place where a diversity of talented people bring their full selves to the creation of solutions.

At Environmental Defense Fund, we are working to ensure:

  • Our staff and leadership reflect the diversity of the geographies in which we work.
  • We have an inclusive culture that allows all staff members to thrive.
  • The pursuit of equity is integral to the operations, management and culture within our organization.
  • Equity and environmental justice considerations inform our programmatic work and the policy actions we advocate.

EDF staff groups

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

Working closely with the associate vice president of diversity, equity and Inclusion, the DEI Council is responsible for cultivating, advising and advancing initiatives that develop and maintain diversity and the practice of inclusion within our operation, management and organizational culture.

Innovative Diversity Efforts Alliance groups

Innovative Diversity Efforts Alliance, or IDEA, consists of six employee resources groups that each seek to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace. IDEA’s mission is to provide a safe space for members, enhance professional development and lend a diverse perspective to EDF’s strategic plan and initiatives. The groups include Black & Green, EDF Pride, Latinos @ EDF, Women & Leadership, AsPIRE (Asian and Pacific Islanders) and Ally(v).

Equity and Environmental Justice Council

Based on principles of environmental justice and equity, EDF’s Environmental Justice Council acts as a resource for EDF leaders by providing input and advice on the overall equity and justice direction and potential strategies to achieve those goals. Working closely with the associate vice president of equity and environmental justice Initiatives, the council drives the organizational change needed to ensure:

  • Equity and justice outcomes are integrated into our mission and programmatic work in substantive and meaningful ways.
  • EDF becomes an authentic partner for frontline communities, those with “first and worst” environmental burdens.
  • We are a force for environmental justice within the environmental community.
  • Sharing diversity data

    Every year, EDF answers the call by Green 2.0 to share our diversity data and commit to improving diversity at all levels of our organization. For more more information about environmental advocacy organizations that are sharing diversity data, see the 2020 Green 2.0 report.

    Diversity and inclusion programs

    Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship Program

    The Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship Program looks for candidates from a diverse set of backgrounds to work with EDF on environmental advocacy.

    The Fellowship is a full-time, one-year position focused on a project that is integral to EDF's work and advances environmental justice. For example, previous fellows have worked on expanding access to solar energy in Illinois, advocating safe and affordable drinking water in California’s Central Valley, and engaging with community leaders in Puerto Rico to advance a clean energy microgrid.

    The program is named after Tom Graff, the legendary and beloved founder of EDF's San Francisco office. Tom transformed environmental politics and water policies in California and inspired many during the 35-plus years he worked at EDF. Tom passed away in 2009; to honor his memory, we named this fellowship after him.

    Diversity and Environmental Justice Grants

    Clean energy future mural

    Community-created mural envisioning a clean energy future, supported by an EDF internal diversity grant

    The Diversity and Environmental Justice Grant Program is an internal funding opportunity for staff to advance projects within programs or departments that increase diversity of participants and/or prioritize equity and environmental justice in their practices and outcomes.

    Recipients use funds to collaborate with justice-oriented organizations and with communities that bear the disproportionate burden of environmental pollution. Grants support two to five projects each year.

    The grants have supported a variety of activities, including partnering with local artists, storytellers and community leaders to facilitate a dialogue on clean energy and climate change; equipping people who live near oil and gas fields with information to identify and respond to potential methane pollution; and translating important health information into the languages spoken by people who bear the greatest burden of environmental hazards.