In this new episode of the Energ’Ethic podcast, we engage with Joshua Atkins, founder of Pride in Energy. This episode delves into the transformative aspects of the energy sector and highlights the critical importance of diversity and inclusion, especially for LGBTQ+ individuals who face unique challenges in society and the workplace.
The Transformative 4Ds in Energy:
Joshua Atkins introduces us to the concept of the 4Ds – decentralization, decarbonization, digitalization, and diversification – reshaping the UK energy sector. He emphasizes that diversification, particularly in the workforce, is a crucial element undergoing significant transformation for decades – and that what Pride in Energy advocates for.
Addressing the Skills Gap with Inclusivity:
Joshua discusses the impending skills gap in the energy industry, from strategic roles to field staff. He points out that new generations prioritize diversity and inclusion, making it essential for companies to align their values with these expectations to attract and retain talent.
The Business Case for Diversity:
Highlighting the tangible benefits of diversity, Joshua references research showing significant returns for businesses that invest in inclusive practices, particularly for women in the workplace. This approach is not only ethically sound but also economically beneficial.
Challenges Faced by LGBTQ+ Individuals:
The conversation takes a deeper dive into the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, who are more likely to experience poverty, homelessness, mental illness, chronic illness, lack of health insurance, and incarceration. These factors put them at higher risk for negative experiences, especially during and after disasters. Pride in Energy publishes annual surveys: Joshua notes an increase in discrimination, especially against individuals with diverse gender identities, underscoring the need for change in both public discourse and corporate policies.
Senior Level Allyship and Representation:
Joshua stresses the importance of visible allyship and leadership at senior levels in creating an inclusive environment. He advocates for allyship across diverse groups, emphasizing support for those different from oneself.
DEI Across the Sector and Advocacy Groups:
The role of advocacy groups, such as Pride in Energy, in driving tangible change is discussed, along with the importance of tracking progress and emerging issues like ‘pinkwashing’ – superficial endorsements of LGBTQ+ rights. Joshua advises companies to listen to employee groups, support diversity initiatives, and enact recommended changes.
Joshua Atkins’ insights on the Energ’Ethic podcast highlight the critical role of diversity and inclusion in the energy sector’s future. His call for progressive and inclusive practices resonates with the need for a more equitable and sustainable industry, especially for marginalized groups like LGBTQI+ individuals. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the intersection of energy, policy, and social justice.