While a changing climate affects us all, it hits some groups harder than others. Did you know that women are more likely to live in extreme poverty than men? Of the people displaced by changing climate, women make up 80 percent. And of 130 peer-reviewed studies, 68 percent concluded that women’s health was impacted more by climate change than men’s. On the flip side, Project Drawdown concluded that 120 billion tons of carbon emissions could be avoided by 2050 through empowering females. To address this disparity and opportunity, Women in Climate Tech has launched an initiative to ensure gender equity is included in climate-related financial disclosures.
As Veronica Collantes from UN Women explained, “these gender inequalities — access to and control over resources, access to education and information, and equal rights and access to decision-making processes — define what women and men can do and cannot do in a particular context of climate change.”
In January, Women in Climate Tech was launched to increase the numbers of female and non-binary professionals in the climate tech industry to address these problems successfully. As Mayesha Alam from Yale University said, “it’s really important to emphasize that women aren’t merely helpless victims when it comes to climate change. Their participation and leadership can have transformative effects in their countries and communities.”
Women in Climate Tech co-founder Helen Betelli echoed similar sentiments in the press release for the platform’s launch: “climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Finding solutions will require diversity of thought and experience like never before, and ensuring women have a seat at the table will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”
In order to carry out their mission, Women in Climate Tech launched the Task Force for Equity in Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TECFD). Originally called the TCFDW, the task force consists of a global team of female professionals specializing in sustainability, energy, and resilience.
Suppose you’re wondering why the acronym looks familiar. It’s because it is not far from the Task Force for Climate-Related Disclosure (TCFD), which provides a framework for companies and organizations to disclose risks and opportunities related to climate via their reporting. The teams within the TECFD correspond to the four pillars of the TCFD: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics & Targets.
Initially, the TECFD will work on gender equity in the climate tech industry, while in the upcoming phases, the task force will expand beyond gender to work on equity in its entirety. The goal is to help corporate and government entities collaborate and fight climate change by using better disclosure measures.
Beyond being good for business and the right thing to do, improving gender equity may be our best chance at protecting our planet. In the words of Tanya Barham, CEO of Community Energy Labs, “the cleantech and climate tech communities are overwhelmingly homogenous despite decades of studies showing the positive amplifier effect that diversity provides for innovation and results. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It is beyond time for diversity, in all its forms.”