SPE has formed an Advisory Board to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the Society and the plastics industry. Through the formation of this Advisory Board, SPE intends to bring these issues to the forefront, while at the same time developing educational, professional development, mentoring, and recruitment resources for SPE’s elected leaders, staff, and members and their companies. SPE’s goal is to ensure a more thorough understanding of the issues and of the inherent value of being more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
Saurav S. Sengupta, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist in Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Dow, will Chair the DEI Advisory Board.
“It is vital for SPE’s membership to know our commitment to DEI principles and to understand that we have created an Advisory Board to help the Society, its stakeholders, and the plastics industry as a whole embrace our goals of fostering diversity and inclusivity,” said Dr. Sengupta. “By providing the necessary tools and resources, we strongly believe we can achieve these goals.”
A recent study by McKinsey and Company reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership—and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. According to the study, most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.
Patrick Farrey, SPE’s CEO, said that not only is DEI “the right thing to do,” it is also good for businesses that commit to these principles. And, said Farrey, as a founding member of the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM, SPE has already been addressing sexual and gender-based issues to make certain that those who work in STEMM industries are doing so in a safe and welcoming environment. But Farrey also emphasized that prioritizing the needs of all individuals should be an essential priority for the plastics industry.
“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion should be business imperatives for SPE’s members’ companies and academic institutions,” said Farrey. “SPE is striving to create an environment in which everyone feels respected and valued, and has equal opportunities to develop, advance, and be heard.”
In conjunction with SPE, the SPE Foundation, with its mission to support the development of plastics professionals by funding quality educational programs, grants and scholarships emphasizing science, works to create inclusive opportunities for plastics students around the world.
“The formation of this Advisory Board is a natural extension of the Foundation’s DEI workforce initiative,” said Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation’s Chief Executive. “This initiative creates education, employment, and advancement opportunities for all students across the entire plastics value chain. Bringing polymer/plastics-based STEMM educational programs to historically excluded people and communities prepares us all to be global citizens by exposing students and professionals to people from different cultures and social groups. And with teachers and staff members of diverse backgrounds we affirm students’ cultural identities and enhance the learning environment.”