350.org is a left-leaning green organization that works to fight climate change. It was accused of cultivating a “white supremacy culture” within its own organization, despite its claims that it has made efforts to improve diversity and support climate change advocacy.
Politico reports 350.org was largely responsible for the opposition of Keystone XL by climate activists. It struggled to overcome its founder by a small number of white people. After mass layoffs, increased workloads, and financial difficulties, efforts to increase the proportion of people of color-led to this.
The group was struggling when May Boeve (executive director) announced a budget increase for 2019. This was the largest amount that the group had ever raised in a single year. It also included plans to hire nearly 130 more employees.
The company failed to fulfill its financial obligations and plans collapsed. This resulted in “mass layoffs,” departures and exhaustion, as well as a labor dispute.
Politico reported that the hiring spree was meant to make 350.org more global by including more people from different backgrounds and racialities. This is due to the lack of diversity in the movement and the urgent need for activists from diverse backgrounds.
Politico did not identify 350. org’s sources. They admitted to the financial mistakes and said that they needed more “to create an inclusive work environment.” They also said that they had taken steps towards improving equity in hiring.
Politico reported that Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, wanted to “pass on the torch to a younger generation.” Although he left 350.org in 2020, White officials still hold the organization’s power.
Former and current staff members were quoted by the organization to say that people of color were more likely to be in lower ranks.
Politico stated that 350. org’s complex mix of equity, diversity, and race was indicative of wider problems in the environmental movement. The article also described previous efforts by the group to diversify its workforce before financial troubles hit.
There were concerns about diversity after the downsizing and restructuring of large numbers of employees. They claimed that programs managed by non-White employees were designed to fail because of a lack of funding.
Politico stated that the 2019 hiring spree had attracted more workers of color to 350. org. Politico noted that a group of people concerned about the layoffs had complained to the leadership team that they had “perpetuated many elements of white supremacy culture” they were trying to eradicate.
Politico reports that an external consultant had written a June 2020 report supporting these claims. But, 350.org leaders claimed 20 of the 25 people who lost their jobs were White. Boeve told Politico that 350.org is a more diverse and equitable organization than what was depicted in the culture.