Diversity often falls victim to the same fate as sustainability. Words inflated with hot air, tossed around for political gain, followed by bold statements, and empty promises. Repeated too often, words lose their meaning. Linguists call this phenomenon semantic satiation. Let’s take a step back and remind ourselves: what does diversity mean? What does it look like when truly realised within a business?
A simple definition of diversity is recognising differences. The inclusion of individuals from different nationalities, ethnicities, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic stratum, age, physical ability, religious, political, and philosophical beliefs.
It is also so much more. Moving beyond acknowledgement and tolerance, it is a conscious practice to radical respect and admiration of all human beings. An exploration and celebration of differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is empowering underrepresented groups; creating a sense of belonging for all.
Diversity matters from an ecological perspective. Ecosystems containing multiple species are proven to be significantly more productive than individual species on their own. Biodiversity in plants correlates with a higher assimilation of nutrients and solar energy, resulting in increased production of biomass. The same is true for humans. Diverse teams lead to greater innovation and creativity, faster problem-solving, enhanced empathy and understanding of perspectives. Overall: greater productivity.
When fully aligned and integrated with a company’s mission, diversity has been shown to yield significant results.
Here are 5 Positive Members who are living, breathing, and thriving with diversity.
BizGees empowers refugees into entrepreneurs through fintech. They help those fleeing from conflict communities to generate wealth and jobs for themselves. They are currently working in the Lira Region of Northern Uganda and the Swat Valley of Northern Pakistan, providing community level and eco-friendly solutions. BizGees’ first refugee entrepreneur was Betty from the village of Ayuu Falls, Northern Uganda. Married with 4 children, she has now undertaken training and set up the Right Light micro business, renting solar lights and supporting her community’s switch from kerosene oil.
RAW Workshop produces high-quality wood furniture, offers a wood recycling service, and sells reclaimed timber—all whilst changing lives. They employ and train people with mental health and addiction problems, the homeless, criminally convicted, and refugees. This year, they have generated over 12,000 hours of social impact; reducing isolation, raising self-esteem, and creating a meaningful community of people frequently sidelined by society. They are also helping to save the planet, having reclaimed 715.5 tonnes of wood last year.
BøthOfUs are a team of international developers, designers, and activist entrepreneurs. They develop apps and services aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and in support of social impact projects. Born into a family surviving on less than $5/day, their founder Kay Nag, understands issues of social and economic disparity. It is these disadvantaged people that BøthOfUs are most actively passionate about hearing from and collaborating with.
ETHSTAT - Ethical Stationery CIC is the UK’s only cooperative social enterprise FM office one-stop-shop provider. Working with PLCs, SME’s and NGO’s throughout the UK, 100% of their profits are donated to helping end homelessness and support dementia families. Last year they supported 208 local communities and committed spend with 47 social enterprises in their supply chain. Ethstat looks at the total ecological footprint of its supply chain. In 2020 they made 30,766 carbon-free deliveries, and 99.94% of their deliveries were plastic-free.
Aduna is an ethical health and wellness brand and social business, harnessing the natural vitality of African superfoods to make a positive impact. They work directly with rural communities in Ghana and Burkina Faso to source and process their ultra-nutrient-dense range of grains, powders, and super-teas. Aduna currently provides a sustainable income to around 13,000 individuals living within Africa’s most poverty-stricken areas. Married with 7 kids, baobab farmer and dressmaker, Elizabeth Woebed, tells of how her family has been empowered: “With Aduna we are able to make enough money from selling baobabs to keep our children in school. No one hears about our struggles now”.
These 5 Positive Members illustrate the manifold expressions and realities of diversity. By its nature (and beauty) diversity in one workplace will never look the same as in another. It is not just an exercise in box-ticking or staff censusing, but a realisation of our highest state of social interaction—collaboration—combined with caring.
Join us and our Diversity Experts—founder of Capaixa, Gina Badenoch, and founder of Diversync, Jiten Patel—on Tuesday 28th September, 12:00-13:00 BST to ask your questions and learn more about the topic.
Limited spots available. Register here.