Stopping carbon pollution alone will not bring climate justice. Reaching net-zero by 2050 will not either. Neither will achieving 100 percent renewable energy targets.

The entire economy is being rebuilt. From electric modes of transportation to climate-smart agriculture, the low-carbon economy creates new roles, companies and workers. It would be regressive if this green economy excluded the very communities disproportionately affected by a changing climate. Moreover, the climate-friendly transition could provide an opportunity to create a more just workforce — one that includes more women and underrepresented people of color at all levels of leadership and ownership.

Right now, this opportunity is not so.

A 2019 study by the Solar Foundation and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that among all senior executives reported by solar firms, 88 percent are white and 80 percent are men. Another report from the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative found that for energy efficiency jobs, women and Black workers substantially lag the national workforce averages. If these trends continue, the low-carbon economy will be just as extractive as its predecessor.

Previously, oil and gas companies topped the list of the largest Black-owned enterprises in the U.S. In the 1980s, the largest 10 of these included five energy-related companies, with combined annual sales of about $854 million in 2021 U.S. dollars: Wallace & Wallace; the Vanguard Oil and Service Company; Smith Pipe and Supply Inc.; the Grimes Oil Company; and the Chioke International Corporation.

How can the two principal agents in the economy, suppliers and demanders, bring about climate justice? For customers and procurers, one solution is to buy Black. Support women-owned. Go local. That would require an ample supply of green products and services led by women and underrepresented people of color.

Read the full article about using supply chain choices to support climate justiceBuying Climate Tech From BIPOC-Owned Businesses  by Marilyn Waite at GreenBiz.