Sierra Club Equity Values


Accountability occurs when individuals reliably deliver on their commitments, showing others they can be trusted to do what they say they'll do. Leaders further demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and decisions and successfully transforming effort into results. We take ownership of our work and personally commit to the success and well-being of everyone who works with us. 

Because we value accountability, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:

  • Personal accountability: we recognize that our actions and how we show up in our work and communities have consequences, and that we must take responsibility for the impact of our actions on others, rather than their intent. 

  • Ownership: Ownership begins with accepting responsibility for ourselves, and our work from inception to outcome. We commit ourselves to owning the outcome of our work, and making sure that we meet our goals, and do what we say we will do. 

  • Clarity: We strive to make sure that all who work with us have a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve, and what is expected. We agree on those expectations in a collaborative manner, respecting differences and working to amplify our individual talents and strengths. 

  • MOCHAs and POPs: We use tools like assigning Managers, Owners, Consultants, Helpers, and Approvers to projects, so we can build clarity, ownership, and trust in how we work together. We use Purposes, Outcomes, and Process guidelines to help us have clear meetings and goals. 

  • Making decisions. We recognize that making sound decisions underpins accountability for those decisions. We commit to actively engaging with those who will be impacted by our decisions before we make them. We also commit to being clear about who is making what decisions, and then owning the decision.



Racism is the single most critical barrier to building effective coalitions for social change. Racism has been consciously and systematically erected, and it can be undone only if people understand what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, and why it is perpetuated. 

Because we value antiracism, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:

  • Maintaining Accountability: To practice antiracism we must constantly and consistently be accountable to the communities struggling with racist oppression.

  • Sustained Action: Antiracism is focused and sustained action, which includes dialogue and engagement with inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi-lingual and inter-abled communities, with the intent to change systems, institutional policies, practices, or procedures that have racist effects. 

  • Undoing Internalized Racial Oppression:
    Internalized Racial Oppression manifests itself in two forms:

    • The acceptance of, and acting out of, an inferior definition of self, given by the oppressor, is rooted in the historical designation of race. This process of disempowerment and disenfranchisement expresses itself in self-defeating and minimizing behaviors.

    • The acceptance of and acting out of a superior definition is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. This process of empowerment and access expresses itself as entitlement to unearned privileges, access to institutional power, and invisible advantages based on race.

Individual acts of racism are supported by institutions and are nurtured by the societal practices that reinforce and perpetuate racism. We commit ourselves to recognizing, naming, and rejecting the norms of internalized racial oppression in ourselves, our work, our organization, and our communities. 



Inclusion rests on the idea that every individual, regardless of their abilities, identity, or background, has the right to participate fully in our society. Inclusion builds community across difference, and tears down barriers that keep us from working together. 

Because we value inclusion, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:

  • Centering the needs and views of others. Inclusion means that we  have to move away from centering our own personal needs and instead, look for a solution that meets the needs of others. It also recognizes that the compromised solution will serve more than just your needs. Inclusion will include thoughtful exploration of the possible solutions: Some for you. Some for me. Some for us.

  • Respect. Inclusion rests on the practice of encouraging the civil and respectful expression of ideas and opinions. It requires listening to others and developing a self-awareness of how you express yourself, recognizing that the impact of words and actions matter. 

  • Sharing responsibility. Inclusion requires each of us to bear the responsibility of creating a positive culture and to safeguard equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for all. It also requires that we act when we observe someone being treated unfairly or in a demeaning manner.


Just Relationships

Just relationships are developed and maintained over time and built on a foundation of trust, justice, and respect. Just relationships are transformational as opposed to transactional—they support individual and collective ability to grow, thrive, and work effectively together beyond immediate needs.

Because we value just relationships, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:

  • Solidarity with impacted stakeholders: Consult and share resources, relationships and opportunities with people who represent those most impacted by the issues being worked on. Seek to understand and redress past harms on individuals and communities caused by Sierra Club’s work. 

  • Honoring the time and energy of others: Recognize, appreciate and value the time, energy and resources of volunteers, colleagues and partners through affirmation and, where appropriate, compensation.

  • Constructive feedback and generative conflict: Provide and openly receive constructive feedback and proactively attend to conflict as an opportunity for learning and growth. 

  • Mutual accountability: In your work with colleagues and partners, establish and follow through on shared commitments regarding transparent communication and processes for decision-making, consultation and evaluation. When needed, adapt commitments to support changing needs of marginalized communities. 



Self-transformation is an ongoing process to strengthen understanding of your own relationship to power, privilege and oppression and to work towards equity and justice in yourself, your actions and your interactions. 

Because we value self-transformation, Sierra Club volunteers and staff practice:

  • Self-awareness: Work continually to understand yourself and how you are shaped by systems of power, privilege and oppression; how you participate in these systems; how you may be both harmed by and benefit from inequity; and how you may contribute to inequity at Sierra Club.

  • Allyship: Recognize when inequity is present, take immediate action to interrupt business-as-usual, and work for long term solutions. Act in support of marginalized people, in accordance with their goals, and work to advance equity in your spheres of influence. 

  • Self-care and community-care: Be aware of the impact of inequities on health and wellbeing and support the development of structures for community care. Be considerate of and support others’ physical and emotional wellbeing, while communicating your own needs or boundaries.


Other Resources: