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There is no place in the climate movement – or anywhere – for bullying and harassment

By Camilla Born on May 8, 2019

This statement was written by Camilla Born (Chair of Trustees), Jamie Clarke (Executive Director), Adam Corner (Director of Programmes & Research)  and George Marshall (Founding Director).

Climate Outreach staff and our Board of Trustees are shocked by the conclusions of an investigation into the behaviour of the ex-CEO of Climate Action Network International (CANI). The investigation detailed how he abused his position, as well as the systemic failings of the network to identify or prevent this behaviour.

We are deeply saddened by these findings – that such abusive behaviour happens at all is truly horrific and our hearts go out to the victims of this vile abuse of power.  We find it particularly shocking that it was perpetrated by a leader in the climate sector, a sector where working for a better world should underpin everything we do.

As a values-led climate change organisation we at Climate Outreach feel doubly determined to act and ensure we do everything we can to ensure that such abuse does not  happen again.

This needs to be a wake up call and is in our opinion a damning indictment of (male) power and privilege. It requires a serious and thorough process of reflection, and robust checks and balances in all organisations.  It is clear that the failings in CANI started with the tolerance of unacceptable behaviour and was then exacerbated by the lack of structures to allow staff to raise concerns, or respond appropriately when they were raised.

We welcome the announcement that European Climate Foundation (ECF) staff are in preliminary discussions with partner organisations about appointing an ombudsman (or should we say ombudsperson) to advise on and investigate complaints from organisations across the international climate movement.

We stress that Climate Outreach will not tolerate any form of abuse or bullying by anyone. We acknowledge that having an exclusively male set of Directors is not desirable but do not want this to prevent us from leading from the front. As part of this we are:

1. Reviewing our anti harassment and bullying policies with input from an external consultant to ensure they reflect best practice, and will implement any recommendations.

2. Creating a culture and processes that encourage staff to report any concerns or issues immediately with their line manager, the ED, or if they feel that are not being heard (or won’t be), the Board of Trustees.

3. Undertaking a review of the independence of the Board of Trustees to ensure they are encouraged and enabled to operate fully independently of the organisation and senior staff.

4. Putting in place recruitment practices to maximise diversification of senior management staff – in particular ensuring a better gender balance – which is central to our growth strategy.

By Camilla Born

Camilla Born is a political strategist, policy advisor and activist specialising in climate diplomacy, security and risk. She is committed to finding solutions for wicked problems. Her work addresses climate change as a systemic risk to our cultures, societies, economies and political systems. She is currently on secondment to the UK Cabinet Office as Deputy Director of Strategy in the COP 26 team. Prior to this appointment she supported the UK’s leadership role on adaptation and resilience at the UK’s Department for International Development and was a Senior Policy Advisor at E3G. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute (SIPRI) and the very proud Chair of Climate Outreach.

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