Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Statement

BTO is committed to educating itself, addressing the barriers to equality and diversity, and creating an inclusive environment.

“I am frequently asked why diversity matters in ornithology, in science or specifically at BTO.

Diversity means different things to different people, embracing age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and much, much more. It follows that it will also matter to different people for different reasons so here I simply offer you three reasons why it matters to me personally and professionally. I refer to these under the headings of its importance morally, environmentally and organisationally.

First, we know that access to the natural world has mental and physical benefits for our own health and these benefits should be equally accessible to everyone. This is not the case currently, and we need to understand the barriers preventing equal access and work to overcome them. So it matters morally because of ‘what nature can do for people’.

Next, it matters because addressing the biodiversity crisis we face will require finding novel and almost certainly large-scale solutions to the relentless loss and deterioration of the natural world. The best way to secure novel ideas and broad scale action is to maximise the number and diversity of hearts and minds around the table – so it matters environmentally because of ‘what people can do for nature’.

Finally, it matters organisationally because if we fail to reflect wider society we risk becoming irrelevant and too narrow in our focus. In the coming years we will be looking for new ways to cherish our existing members and engage with communities we haven’t connected with before.”

Juliet Vickery, CEO

BTO has a zero tolerance policy on harassment on the grounds of a protected characteristic and unacceptable behaviour. We take seriously complaints that arise in the course of the organisation’s work.

Our vacancies, activities and events are open to anyone, regardless of protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

When recruiting new employees we use blind hiring, are users of the disability confident scheme and guarantee first-round interviews for candidates from an ethnic minority background who meet the essential criteria for a role.

We run events for particular groups within society, such as our Youth events, which seek to remove barriers to participation in our work. 

Our Diversity Working Group, formed 18 December 2019, brings together committed and passionate BTO staff who act as champions, allies and ambassadors for EDI internally and externally. They develop their learning and share their skills with colleagues, inviting people with experience and expertise into BTO to inform policy and workplace culture.

We are:

  • evidence-led, using our science, data and expertise to make a positive difference for birds and for people
  • inclusive, supporting, valuing and having respect for our staff and those who work with us
  • collaborative, working in partnership with individuals and organisations to achieve our collective goals
  • empowering, using our work to create opportunities through which individuals and communities can engage with science and the natural world, for the benefit of all

We will:

  • increase our understanding of the importance of EDI to BTO,  our work and our sector
  • learn from and work with people with lived experience and expertise in EDI, ensuring that those sharing their expertise are paid
  • publish an action plan with associated metrics to measure success
  • provide training and support, and raise awareness of EDI internally and externally, identifying opportunities to work with others in our sector
  • assess and update language, policies, processes and images
  • in line with GDPR, monitor the diversity of staff, volunteers, trustees, conference speakers and chairs, and award nominees and winners to measure the impact of our activities and progress
  • be open to challenge, ideas, and feedback; we would love you to join the conversation - please contact our People Team (peopleteam [at] bto.org)

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you. Please reach out to our staff to raise any concerns you have about your experience of engaging with BTO, or to share suggestions about how we can improve our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

peopleteam [at] bto.org (Contact us)

More information 

Youth Advisory Panel

The creation of the BTO Youth Advisory Panel was an important element of BTO’s EDI work, with our panel members helping to steer BTO to better serve a more diverse audience, particularly our younger supporters. The panel has developed an inclusive and extensive Youth Engagement Strategy, helping BTO inspire the next generation of birdwatchers. They fulfil a strategic function, implementing their ideas in BTO's wider work, and supporting our network of Youth Representatives.

Safeguarding Policy

BTO’s Safeguarding Policy outlines how we will take reasonable steps to protect children and vulnerable adults that come into contact with our work from harm. 

Privacy Statement

BTO’s Privacy Statement outlines how we manage personal data, including information about protected characteristics of our staff, members and volunteers.


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