Diversity, equity and inclusion



© Georgina Goodwin

Over the years, Conservation International’s focus on people has led us to a more compassionate approach to protecting nature — and it continues to guide us as we make diversity, equity and inclusion a top organizational priority.

This isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a practical one. Almost without exception, conservation efforts that aren’t built on a foundation of inclusion, compassion and empathy fail. There is no path to climate stability without the full participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities — and those partnerships cannot exist without culturally and emotionally competent teams.

M. Sanjayan
CEO Conservation International



In our conservation efforts…

  • We aim to create and foster a workforce that reflects and contributes to the diverse communities in which we work around the world.
  • We seek full participation from communities with which we collaborate, particularly those historically ignored in conservation, to ensure equitable outcomes.
  • We align inclusion and equity with our strategic priorities and our mission as a fundamental element of the human well-being we seek to support through our work.
  • We engage with partners, consultants, grantees, vendors and service providers who share our commitment to address systemic inequities.

In our workplace…

  • We are diversifying our workforce globally by providing equitable opportunity through recruitment, development and promotion.
  • We are developing a culture of inclusive mindsets and behaviors by minimizing bias, and addressing systemic inequities.
  • We are committed to an environment where our people feel they belong and are able to bring their whole selves to work and are respected and appreciated as valuable team members.



Since our founding in 1987, Conservation International has pioneered an approach to conservation that puts human well-being on equal footing with environmental goals.

We were one of the first environmental organizations to develop a policy for partnering with Indigenous Peoples — an initiative that evolved into our rights-based approach to conservation. Now, we are elevating these principles into our organizational priorities and measuring our progress on workforce diversity, inclusive conservation and leadership accountability.


We are committed to:

© Michael Christopher Brown

Inclusive practices that involve local people in conservation efforts.


© Conservation International/photo by Katie Bryden

Inviting diverse perspectives to conservation by engaging not only scientists and conservationists but also social scientists, as well as local and Indigenous leaders.


© Starbucks

Promoting diverse partnerships by working with governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations from emerging nations as well as communities and donors.



Inclusive programs

By building diversity, equity and inclusion into our projects, we aim to minimize bias and address systemic inequities that can cause marginalized communities to be vulnerable to environmental degradation and the impacts climate change.

We have developed a safeguards system to identify and address project risks and opportunities that affect people and the environment.

We established a public accountability and grievance mechanism to address concerns raised by individuals, communities and other stakeholders connected to Conservation International initiatives.

Our gender program offers guidelines for integrating gender into conservation programming and responding to gender-based violence in community conservation. National partners have recognized many of our projects for supporting women to participate fully in community discussions and management decisions.

Our fellowships help Indigenous women from a wide range of regions to take on leadership responsibilities and roles that have historically excluded them. They are strengthening their communities through ancestral knowledge and working to fight climate change.

Our Indigenous Advisory Group provides advice and feedback on issues related to Indigenous rights, climate change and forest conservation – including guidelines for applying the principle of free, prior and informed consent, an international human rights standard.

Conservation International has been a thought leader in integrating human rights into the sustainable seafood movement. In 2021, we assessed 20 fisheries with a due diligence tool developed by our experts to protect the human rights of crew and communities in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.


Workplace diversity and culture

Our vision is an organization with teams that reflect the places where we work; a culture that values our differences; inclusive field practices that strengthen human rights; and top-to-bottom accountability.

We’ve developed a strategy and policies to ensure we engage with all teams and partners in an equitable way. That includes improving recruitment, hiring and promotion practices; promoting a culture of inclusivity through ongoing learning opportunities; and fostering an environment that respects and values individual differences.

This has included new employee-led resource and affinity groups designed to ensure that our staff find belonging in our community and new learning and development courses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, such as countering unconscious bias and fostering an inclusive climate.

Diversity, equity and inclusion is a strategic priority that guides Conservation International’s work. More remains to be done — as we continue our journey, we will report on our progress here.