Sustain is committed to “cultivating opportunities for a wide range of people to be involved in and have their voices heard through Sustain’s work and our spheres of influence”.
Sustain strives to be an equal opportunities employer; an organisation that recognises our privilege and uses it to promote racial justice in the food and farming system; and not to discriminate against people on the basis of personal characteristics or background. We see diversity as a strength and something to celebrate. We would like everyone to feel welcome, to feel confident to apply for suitable opportunities, and to find ways to participate.
We are proactively working on a range of actions to improve representation of diversity on Sustain’s team of staff and trustees, welcoming people who identify as having protected characteristics, including people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
As you are viewing this via Sustain’s Jobs page, we want you to know that we are working to improve our recruitment processes to make it possible for more people from diverse backgrounds to gain employment, positions of responsibility and other experiences at Sustain and via our networks. We are committed to taking proactive action to overcome barriers to participation.
If there’s a way you think we could improve our recruitment processes and opportunities, or if you know of examples of good practice that we could learn from, please do let us know. We will welcome suggestions and our staff group tasked with implementing actions to improve diversity promise to consider them and to respond constructively: send us an email.
Here are some of the ways Sustain works in relation to recruitment and employment practices; the actions we have already taken, and what we plan to do in 2021 to cultivate greater fairness and diversity.
What we do now
Operating a fair and transparent salary scale
Sustain operates a fixed salary scale, organised in four bands: project officer, project coordinator, senior management and chief executive. This provides a fair and transparent method of remuneration and avoids the disparities that we observe can emerge in other organisations when individuals negotiate salaries that are higher than those of peers in similar roles, whilst others may not have the confidence to negotiate. Sustain salaries incorporate a London weighting and increase with annual increments, until the top of a band has been reached. Our inflationary increase is based on RPI (not CPI), to recognise the higher cost of housing in London. The salary scale is set and overseen by Sustain’s Council of Trustees.
Treating freelancers fairly
Sustain employs some freelancers. Freelance rates are offered in parity with our salary scale, including increments in parity with our salary scale for people providing freelance services over a longer period.
Sustain also employs some independent consultants, either as individuals or organisations. As a registered Living Wage Employer, we endeavour to ensure through our contracts that everyone involved in providing such services are adequately paid, certainly at no less than the Living Wage or London Living Wage.
Pay ratio monitoring
Sustain monitors and reports annually on our pay ratio, ensuring that the gap between the highest and lowest paid in our organisation keeps well within sensible benchmark limit set by Wagemark, which is a ratio of 8:1. Our pay ratio for staff employed directly by Sustain is 2:1, well below the third-sector average. We also benchmark this against the London Living Wage, which shows a ratio of 3:1 (the accurate figure is 3.27) for services sub-contracted by our landlord such as office cleaning. Our landlord is the Ethical Property Company, which is also a registered Living Wage Employer.
Additionally, Sustain has no hidden bonuses, hidden remuneration or expense accounts that might boost incomes or financial rewards and disparities through indirect means.
Living Wage Employer
Sustain is a registered Living Wage Employer, promising to pay employees and interns at least the London Living Wage. Our landlord is the Ethical Property Company, so cleaning and ancillary staff are also included, and our pay ratio is calculated in relation to the London Living Wage.
Sustain offers paid internship opportunities via the EcoTalent scheme run by Feedback Global, which has a particular focus on opportunities for younger people, and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, interested in the environment and campaign sectors.
Promoting wider opportunities
Sustain runs the Roots to Work service, promoting a plethora of jobs in the food, farming and environmental movement. We hope this service will help more people find their place in the field of good food. Please do promote your jobs here, or search for opportunities.
Culture of respect for diversity
To support equal opportunities and diversity during the recruitment process, we:
- Treat everyone as equals, with courtesy and respect.
- Do not require degree-level qualifications unless the role makes this essential (which in practice is only veryrarely).
- Recognise and value the work experience and life experience of candidates.
- Run interviews in a way designed to get the best out of people, not to trip them up.
- Do not ask interview candidates what their current salary is.
- Offer flexible working arrangements.
- Provide a programme of staff training and other support on a range of issues and skills identified by the staff team as useful for personal and professional development.
- When writing or speaking about, portraying or providing a platform for diversity, we follow Sustain's Diversity Style Guide.
In 2021, Sustain became a signatory to the Show the Salary charity pledge, to embed some of our current practices in policy, and to promote these to our networks.
What we will do next, in 2021
Sustain is reviewing our recruitment processes to improve our performance in attracting applications from people from diverse backgrounds and improving the diversity of our staff team and trustees, and in the opportunities we promote. For example, we are trialling:
- Better monitoring and data collection about diversity in our recruitment processes, and the impact of the various methods we are trialling to improve performance.
- Advertising our job opportunities through a wider range of outlets, including those billed as reaching people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and diverse socio-economic backgrounds. We are monitoring performance, to identify the best outlets.
- Updating our application process, application handling, scoring and shortlisting processes to make it easier for people from diverse backgrounds to get through to interview stage and to cut out risks of conscious or unconscious bias.
- Continuing to seek opportunities to host paid internships for people from diverse backgrounds, with an ambition to develop a more structured learning programme.
- Developing Sustain-style leadership opportunities within the staff and trustee teams, including trustee role-shares and buddying to improve engagement and learning.
- Evolving better ways of portraying our work and job opportunities, in spirit, word and image, to be more attractive to and inclusive of people from diverse backgrounds. This will include updating our relevant style guides to embed this into our routine working practices.
- Improving our employment policies and practices to support people from diverse backgrounds and experiencing a range of personal circumstances.
- Developing a directory of relevant goods and services to promote on our website and through our networks, explicitly seeking to promote SMEs and social enterprises led by people from diverse backgrounds.
We are also developing support and training for staff to enable all Sustain projects and campaigns to identify priorities for involvement and actions to involve people from diverse backgrounds.
We will allocate budget and staff time to enable the changes outlined above. We commit to continuous improvement, remaining open to change, and open to ideas, challenges and constructive criticism. We will monitor and report on our progress; learn by doing; not be afraid to try things out or get things wrong; and we will learn from our mistakes.
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