The Clear Company logo

World Environment Day: Bringing DEI to ESG

As DEI experts, the Clear Company are committed to challenging and changing un-inclusive behaviours. This article will demonstrate the link between ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and articulate why we, both as individuals and as a collective, must take action to understand both initiatives and where they support each other.

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) statement of intent is a key step in ensuring your DEI strategy is anchored within the overall business strategy. Organisations that have worked through the processes below are ready to write their DEI statement of intent.

Every year since 1973, there have been global efforts to combat the detrimental impact of our actions as humans on the environment. Today is World Environment Day and it is described as ‘a global platform for inspiring positive change’ by the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP), the organisation that created it. 2023’s event is hosted in Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with the Netherlands with a theme of ‘solutions to plastic pollution’. World Environment Day is now the largest global environment event, designed to engage governments, businesses, civil society, celebrities, cities and communities in raising awareness and celebrating environmental action. From supply chains to impacts on customers and communities, ESG and DEI go hand in hand, trying to understand the impact we currently have and the positive impact we want to have in the world.

The Business case for World Environment Day

Both ESG and DEI have become increasingly contentious issues in recent years. The impact of global events, such as the war in Ukraine, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and income inequality from the rising cost of living, have increased political and social tensions. These events, to name a few, have forced companies across the world to scrutinise their ‘externalities’ (the impact of their outward actions). Research cited from McKinsey and Company states that more than one in three of those surveyed, ‘express little or no confidence in big businesses’, which
is linked to the public perception on their contribution to sustainability. Considering the well documented environmental impact of global corporations, (mainly those in the oil, gas and infrastructure sectors) there is a strong case for such businesses to care about the ‘social’ impact of ESG and how it can impact them financially.  HSBC published research which showed that ESG issues amount to 69% of reputation risks of most concern (with employee abuse & customer abuse including racial, sexual, ageist etc) being at 72% each.

Therefore, an organisation’s commitment to actions such as sustainable investing, achieving net-zero and even green bonds (a fixed income instrument issued by private companies, financial institutions and governments to fund projects with environmental and/or climate benefits) can be justified through the equitable elements of any DEI strategy. 

In 1982, black civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis coined the term ‘environmental racism’, describing it as “racial discrimination in environmental policy-making, the enforcement of regulations and laws, the deliberate targeting of communities of colour for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the life-threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities, and the history of excluding people of colour from leadership of the ecology movements”. 


In 2017, a town in China found elevated blood lead levels in its children as a result of improper electronic waste recycling of computer parts. A 2023 study from St Andrews University, found that air pollution has a greater impact on black people than others from the wider UK population. In 2014 in Flint, Michigan, improperly maintained lead piped resulted in poisoned tap water for its communities, of which 40.9% are black.  Evidence from UN reporting on South Asia demonstrated that the impact of drought in South Asia, compounded with the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (increased gender-based violence and increased income inequality) caused a localised health crisis which intensely impacted women, girls and gender minorities in rural areas, for whom the sourcing of water is critical to every-day survival.

Evidently, DEI at its most authentic and intersectional stances relies on ESG efforts to better the lives of minoritized groups globally. This is not solely achievable through changed behaviours in the workplace, but through a truly diverse and inclusive leadership, a strong and impactful strategy which influences governance structures and works beyond performative DEI efforts and the allocation of efforts to measuring the impact of an organisation’s equitable ethos and values.

An intersectional approach is key to all the above; which at the Clear Company, we embed from an authentic, inclusive and pragmatic stance. 

According to the UN, World Environment Day “broadens the basis for.. responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.” When we consider the importance of ESG and DEI within an organisation’s supply chain and the impact that sustainable services have on communities, the importance of an inclusive approach to business solutions is evident. Simply put, your customers and clients are increasingly caring about your commitments and the evidence of your commitments to looking after the world at large; the link with DEI, particularly Supplier Diversity, is clear.

Therefore, if you’d like to develop a DEI strategy which authentically has an improved social impact, please contact us for solutions that range from Audit, Learning, Supplier Diversity and our online Clear Assured platform, which can help you change your workplace for the better, for the benefit of everyone.

About the Author:

Corinne Crosbourne, Senior Consultant

Corinne Crosbourne (she/her) has a wealth of experience in diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and taking an empathetic and intersectional stance in her work. With an academic background in law and a working background in Human Resources and Talent, she has strategized and championed equalities initiatives that address intersectionality, including racial equality, mental wellbeing, and inclusive behaviors for her former employers in social housing and local government. Corinne joined the Clear Company in January 2023 as a Senior Consultant, where she continues to advocate for equity and belonging through a variety of creative methods.

To show a photo of Corinne Crosbourne
Safe spaces
  • This is a Safe Space for victims of domestic abuse.
  • This webpage leaves no trace in your internet history.
  • To exit this page quickly, click Escape Site (top right corner).
Call the police

Dial ‘999’ for immediate assistance. If you are unable to speak or answer questions while on a 999 call, stay on the line, and when prompted, press 55 and your call will be transferred to the police. The local police number is 101 for non-emergencies.

*The ’55’ option will only work with 999.

Am I at Risk?

‘How do I know if I am suffering domestic abuse?’ This short survey will help you identify if the behaviours you are experiencing are domestic abuse.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you are not alone. Local support and help is easy to access through this search function. Click here

Local Support Services

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you are not alone. Local support and help is easy to access through this search function. Click here

Contact National Helplines

National domestic abuse support services can offer you guidance here.

Useful Links

Access a range of other services that can support you. Click here