AGCI’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In December 2017, AGCI’s Board of Directors adopted our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. We recognize the role that AGCI can play in improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the sciences, and this statement of commitment serves as a foundation for our actions as we embrace that role. We see this as an ongoing process and dialogue, and welcome feedback on how we can continue to improve our practices.

The mission of the Aspen Global Change Institute is to further the understanding of global environmental change in service of society. While the inclusion of diverse people and ideas has been implicit in this mission since AGCI’s founding, we recognize a need to more deeply reflect upon the numerous diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) implications of how we work and what we work towards with respect to this broad mission.

As with other preeminent scientific organizations [1], we begin by recognizing a history of exclusion, bias, and harassment—both intentional and unintentional—throughout the numerous institutions and organizations involved with understanding and responding to global environmental change. This legacy as well as ongoing inequities continue to hinder both the work of AGCI and that of kindred partners in environmental and scientific arenas.

We also recognize the unique leverage a small but influential organization like AGCI can have in fostering a more just and equitable society. Thus, the purpose of this commitment is to make explicit key DEI implications for AGCI’s mission and to inform the development of action plans for substantively addressing diversity issues both organization-wide as well as in specific programs. An initial set of actions are identified as high priority areas at the adoption of this commitment (see last page), but it is anticipated that additional action items (including measurable success indicators and specific organizational policies) will be developed on an annual basis or as needed for different program areas to continue to guide progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The following sections broadly describe our commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the following domains:

  1. Who we are
  2. Who we work with
  3. Who we serve

1) Who we are

AGCI is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion on our staff, advisory boards, and Board of Directors. The collective sum of the individual differences such as disciplinary perspectives, life experiences, knowledge bases, and modes of creative self-expression represents a significant part of our organization’s culture. We embrace and encourage our employees’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our employees unique. Additionally, we believe that an organization whose members and governance reflects the constituencies they serve will be more effective in implementing its mission.

AGCI’s diversity commitment will influence policies on recruitment and selection; compensation and benefits; employee conduct and grievance procedures; professional development and training; promotions; and the ongoing development of a work environment built on the premise of equity that encourages and enforces:

As indicated by current personnel policy, all employees of AGCI have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect at all times. All employees are expected to exhibit conduct that reflects inclusion during work, at work functions on or off the work site, and at all other organization events. Any employee found to have exhibited any inappropriate conduct or behavior against others, including harassment of any form, may be subject to disciplinary action.

AGCI is likewise committed to enhancing the diversity of its Boards of Directors and scientific advisors. These boards provide basic governance as well as offer valuable guidance that shapes how AGCI pursues its mission. It is thus critical to have diverse viewpoints represented on these boards that both appreciates and reflects the diverse constituencies AGCI works with and serves.

2) Who we work with

AGCI is committed to mainstreaming DEI considerations into each of its programs and projects, with a particular focus of who participates in our annual interdisciplinary workshops. This will include the development of guidance regarding how participants are selected, recruited, and supported for participation in interdisciplinary workshops. AGCI collaborates with scientists, practitioners, private consultants, and educators through a suite of programs including: interdisciplinary scientific workshops, research and consulting, education and public outreach, and fiscally sponsored programs conducted by external partners. Many of these programs—our interdisciplinary workshops, in particular—are designed to support and influence work that occurs in research, policy-making, implementation, and education. Thus, who AGCI collaborates with and the values that shape those collaborations have the potential to make a significant impact beyond our own institution.

3) Who we serve

AGCI’s constituencies include the broad research enterprise focused on global change topics, practitioners, decision-makers, and other stakeholders involved in forging solutions to or responding to the impacts resulting from global change, educators and learners working to impart and acquire new knowledge about global change, as well as the general public. We recognize that many groups—in particular women, other minorities, and low-income communities—are underrepresented in regard to participating in, gaining access to, or benefiting from this work. Therefore, in the many programmatic areas in which AGCI seeks to serve society, we commit to incorporate DEI considerations into how these activities are organized and who they benefit. Current program areas ripe for innovation in regard to DEI considerations include:

[1] For example, see statements/plans on diversity from Union of Concerned Scientists and American Geophysical Union