Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

What Do Each of These Words Mean?


Breaks down barriers of racism, classism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination that exclude people, groups, and populations so that everyone has the resources and opportunities to live a healthy, happy, and full life.


Recognizes the barriers that exist for people, groups, and populations and re-distributes resources based on need so that everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity is the approach to achieving equality.


Represents all the differences between us based on people’s identities, as well as the systemic advantages or barriers we encounter.


Cultivates a sense of community that meaningfully embraces, celebrates, and centers the perspectives and styles of the people, groups, and populations who encounter more barriers based on their identities.

Our Commitment

We view Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion not as a separate component of our work, but as the overarching blueprint through which we move toward a more just and sustainable society. That’s why Just Zero is committed to incorporating these values into all aspects of our work. That includes organizational decisions, program priorities, team conversations, hiring, internal and external communications, and organizational growth.

Just Zero is a compassionate, welcoming, supportive, and equitable institution with zero tolerance for harassment, insensitivity, racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, or any other form of discrimination or bigotry. We strive to create a work environment where every team member feels safe to be their full, authentic self. 


Of residents living within 3 kilometers of a hazardous waste facility are people of color


Fulfilling Our Commitment

We understand that the values of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are not only important, but also evolving. We also recognize our limitations and the continued room for growth. We will learn, grow, and fulfill our commitment through:

TransparencyAll plans, strategies, decisions, schedules, and salaries are open and accessible to all team members. Nothing is secret, nothing is hidden.
Equitable Hiring PracticesRecruiting diverse talent is a priority for Just Zero. As such, all job postings, interview processes, and onboarding practices will be developed and implemented through a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive lens.
TrainingsJust Zero will hire experts on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to host regular trainings for all staff on these values. Learnings will be incorporated into Just Zero’s day-to-day operations.
Learning SessionsJust Zero will create a brave space for staff to learn and discuss topics surrounding Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This includes difficult conversations where we hold one another accountable.
Annual EvaluationsEach year, Just Zero will collect and review feedback on the organization’s policies, practices, and finances to assess its progress toward implementing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Areas where staff indicate the organization needs to improve will be modified to meet staff expectations for a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive work environment.
Redistribution of ResourcesJust Zero plans to redirect funds to environmental justice communities actively fighting against landfills and other waste facilities.

How Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Relate to Zero Waste

Black and brown communities, low-income communities, and communities of limited English-speaking proficiency have been – and continue to be – disproportionately impacted by pollution, climate change, and the waste crisis. Why do these environmental injustices exist? Because of racism, classism, white supremacy, and other discriminatory barriers.

These barriers have brought a great deal of harm to people, groups, and populations across the country and the world. That’s exactly why Just Zero strives to view our work through an environmental justice lens. Because all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or location, deserve to live in healthy, safe communities.

We are indebted to the legacy and leadership of the Black and brown leaders in the environmental justice movement and are committed to following and learning from their leadership and demonstrating solidarity.


People worldwide die from air pollution each year

Source: World Health Organization

Working with Environmental Justice Communities

At Just Zero, we are committed to working under the leadership of environmental justice communities. We believe the folks who are directly impacted by environmental injustices are the ones who know the best solutions for their communities.

When we are asked to support a community, we are committed to building relationships and providing Zero Waste expertise as necessary. Whether it is fighting to shut down an existing landfill or stopping the construction of a toxic waste facility, Just Zero believes all communities deserve a healthy environment and will continue to work until that is a reality.

Read · Listen · Watch · Learn

To enact real change, we all need to learn, grow, and take action – together. Here are some resources that members of our team found inspiring:

BookA Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington
ReportBeyond Diversity by Green 2.0
FilmCrip Camp: A Disability Revolution
OrganizationEnvironmental Justice Atlas
OrganizationEqual Justice Initiative
BookHow to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
OrganizationJ.E.D.I. Collaborative
PodcastPeople Over Plastic
Implicit Association TestProject Implicit
PodcastThe Diversity Gap
BookThe Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas
BlogWhat’s the Difference Between Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity?
BookWhite Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Scroll to Top