Today, on what would have been George Floyd’s 48th birthday, we remember him, his family, and the commitments DGA made in the wake of his death to be empathetic and active allies in the fight against racial injustice. This document shares some initial steps we have made to advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) within our key projects to follow through on our commitments.
Renewable Thermal Collaborative & DEIJ
The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC), a project of DGA, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the World Wildlife Fund, has taken strides in making DEIJ an integral part of its work. Two notable actions are the incorporation of DEIJ into the fabric of the RTC 2021 Summit and the planning for the Lever for Change Grant.
This year the RTC was announced as the winner of the 2030 Climate Challenge – a five-year $10 million grant. As part of its work, the RTC pledged to advance a just thermal transition by learning from and partnering with communities of color, workers, environmental justice advocates, and the disability rights community. The RTC will form a Just Transition & DEI Advisory Committee of up to 10 people comprising RTC members and outside organizations representing marginalized and frontline communities impacted by fossil fuel pollution, people with disabilities, and labor groups affected by the renewable thermal transition. Additionally, the RTC will hire a DEIJ expert to conduct an independent review every two years to evaluate the effectiveness of the RTC’s approach to DEIJ and facilitate adaptive learning.
The summit session on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) and Thermal Decarbonization represented the first public RTC conversation about DEIJ. This discussion examined why a commitment to DEIJ and community engagement are important concepts for achieving decarbonization goals in the renewable thermal transition. This session served as an outlet for the RTC to listen and learn from partners and stakeholders to start a dialogue about these issues which will help inform their Lever for Change work.
At the summit session and through a recent internal survey of its members, we learned that RTC companies are engaging on DEJI and they are doing so across a range of specific pathways. They are joining external initiatives specializing in DEIJ, creating specialized DEIJ divisions to implement diversity goals internally and addressing justice with a refined sector-based approach to increase the ability to make community-level change. Key lessons we and our members are already learning: These are big, complex issues, they can manifest in many different ways, and it’s imperative to learn from folks who’ve been working here already.
Combined Heat and Power Alliance
Another DGA project, the Combined Heat and Power Alliance (CHPA), is working to meaningfully integrate DEIJ into its advocacy for the deployment of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Waste Heat to Power (WHP).
CHPA’s 2020 and 2021 summits both discussed the crucial connection between DEIJ and CHP. At the 2020 Summit, CHPA released results of an attendee survey examining how their companies approach DEIJ. The survey was delivered in the context of CHPA’s 2030 CHP deployment plan, which has as one of its key pillars the need to create a more diverse workforce. The CHP industry workforce is already more diverse than the electric power generation sector nationwide, but there is still a lot of work to do; 31 percent of the CHP workforce in 2020 were women and racial minorities made up 28 percent of CHP industry workers, compared to just 23 percent in the electric power generation sector nationwide.
The survey found 85% of respondents said their company has a DEI program or initiative and 67% of respondents said their company has a program or initiative to actively recruit a diverse array of candidates.
In 2021, CHPA took additional steps to integrate DEIJ throughout the summit. Paula Glover, the President of the Alliance to Save Energy, delivered the keynote address and discussed how energy justice is inextricably linked to energy efficiency measures like CHP. The keynote put justice at the center stage of the summit and provided an opportunity for attendees to consider, regardless of their organization type or their role within it, how to be conscious of who their work impacts, who it does not, and how we can all do better.
Anne Hampson, U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) also led a session on the CHP Workforce and Jobs. One key insight was the need to think about workforce diversity not only on the recruitment side but also in terms of retention and what opportunities are available for advancement. The discussion built off the AMO’s virtual workshop series this summer on workforce development gaps in advanced manufacturing, in which DGA’s Lynn Kirshbaum participated on behalf of the CHPA and RTC.
We recognize that these are only initial steps to begin this conversation and incorporate DEIJ into DGA’s and its partner organizations’ work and that much more must be done. DGA will continue to seek new opportunities to incorporate DEIJ into our work and to learn from others. We welcome thoughts from others about what more we can do at firstname.lastname@example.org.