Like so many industries, the most progressive in the clean energy industry have recently started assessing and putting plans in place to increase diversity and inclusion and address systemic racism. The solar industry is disproportionately male- and white-dominated, as is the environmental movement in general as this article outlines, and we’re sad to say that Sugar Hollow follows this trend as well. But we're hoping to change that and have laid out a path to start making changes right here at home by:
WHAT IS A JUST TRANSITION?
It’s incredibly important that all people, especially marginalized communities, benefit from the clean energy economy (this is the Just Transition philosophy) and Sugar Hollow wants to find partners in western NC to bring this philosophy to the local clean energy revolution. The Sierra Club describes a Just Transition as ‘moving our economy off of fossil fuels, and towards clean energy while providing just pathways for workers to transition to high-quality work with integrity.’ This set of principles, practices, and processes specifically aims to involve communities that have been left out of other economies and/or harmed by fossil fuels.
SO WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?
At Sugar Hollow, management and staff have formed an Inclusivity team to create a JEDI plan including the hiring of a consultant (with a focus on paying people of color for this work) to help us understand our unconscious biases and make changes thoughtfully and without causing additional harm. We’re also working with an Asheville program, Inclusive Hiring Partners, to be connected with a more diverse workforce and continue our education as a company.
We’ve long supported Asheville GreenWorks and their community initiatives and were enthusiastic to hear that they too are working to bring JEDI into their organization and programming. For us, this alignment has made us want to be in an even closer partnership with these good folks as we continue to learn (and unlearn) together.
We are a proud sponsor of GreenWorks’ Urban Forestry initiative, which aims to address the inequities experienced by under-resourced communities and communities of color -- fewer trees are planted and preserved in these communities, which make those living there much more susceptible to the negative impacts of climate change and the urban heat island effect.
We’re donating $100 to Asheville GreenWorks for every referral we receive who goes solar. Feel free to recommend solar to friends and family and help us send money their way. (There’s a referral bonus for the person who refers as well which could be sent to Asheville GreenWorks too!) For more info, visit https://www.sugarhollowsolar.com/introduce-a-friend.
Sugar Hollow Solar