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Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

Blue Ventures has long endeavoured to work in ways that provide a concerted response to the widespread social injustices that have plagued conservation in recent history. We believe that promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in this space will not only respond to these injustices, but create a more nuanced and impactful conservation movement, led by organisations that are effective as a direct result of the diversity of their teams and the autonomy of the communities they serve.

Our founding mission and values stand for empowerment and community mobilisation. Despite holding these values uppermost in what we do, we acknowledge that injustices and inequalities are evident throughout our work, our organisation and our sector. 

In September and October 2020, we facilitated a series of group discussions, inviting colleagues to share their experiences of EDI within Blue Ventures. Over 160 staff members (60% of our global team) contributed to the discussions and a confidential survey was sent out to all staff. We are grateful to our colleagues who voiced their opinions, shared personal experiences and brought to light the many ways in which we can improve as an organisation. 

Change will require commitment, reflection and honesty with ourselves and the communities we work with, and a willingness to acknowledge uncomfortable truths as they surface. With guidance from the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in our teams, partners and the communities we serve, we commit to actively and openly addressing all forms of discrimination – including structural racism – starting from within our organisation. In doing so, we continue on our journey to support a fair and inclusive marine conservation movement that is truly representative of the experiences of small-scale fishers and coastal communities worldwide.

Following reflections within our team, we are taking the following steps to strengthen EDI at Blue Ventures:

  • – We have created a platform within our internal communications system where colleagues are encouraged to share useful resources, articles, films and thoughts on the issue of social justice and how it intersects with our work. We want to make sure this platform is as inclusive and accessible as possible, so expect that the function will evolve and grow as we receive feedback from our colleagues.
  • – We now ensure that all of our job applications are anonymised through the shortlisting process, and that job descriptions are gender neutral, in order to prevent reviewer bias. We have also included links on our applicant tracking system for our staff, which include introductory videos on unconscious bias, diversity, inclusion and belonging, and a tool to help decode gendered job advertisements. Our recruitment policy states our principles of recruitment, which include non-discrimination and an emphasis on diversity.
  • – We have established an EDI Working Group, responsible for promoting, championing and encouraging EDI in our work. The group represents the diversity of our global team, with 15 staff members of varying levels of seniority, including at least one representative from each of Blue Ventures’ five country teams. 

The Working Group is responsible for: 

  • – Considering the issues, concerns and ideas raised during the group discussions carried out in September and October 2020.
  • – Identifying EDI priorities and identify gaps in existing policies and procedures.
  • – Developing an action plan to be reviewed by an external EDI Advisor by the end of our 2021 financial year.
  • – Supporting the implementation of the EDI action plan.
  • – Participating in training related to EDI, such as unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion.
  • – Championing EDI across the organisation, and hold themselves and leadership groups accountable for creating an equal, diverse and inclusive work culture.
  • – Monitoring and communicating to the wider organisation on EDI statistics agreed by the EDI Working Group.
  • – Representing Blue Ventures externally on matters related to EDI.

While we appreciate that we have embarked on a long path of unlearning deeply entrenched behaviours and organisational practices, we are resolved to keeping an open mind and to continue improving as an organisation. We are actively working towards ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion are the cornerstone of our professional relationships, both within Blue Ventures and our partnerships.

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