From the beginning, one of the main focuses for WeWork—a company that started as a co-working space for freelancers and small companies but has grown exponentially in terms of business focus and reach—has centered on sustainability. In fact, the first company its co-founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey launched was the eco-friendly co-working space Green Desk in 2008—something they eventually sold and reimagined into WeWork, the now super-successful global business that reaches more than 20 countries. Even with a new business name, various eco-friendly initiatives throughout WeWork’s ascension toward becoming a top brand have made it obvious that one underlying goal remains constant: making sure its spaces are as kind to the planet as possible. And most recently, that’s meant saying goodbye to meat for good.
The company’s 6,000 employees and 253,000 members globally who do eat meat are still more than welcome to bring it into WeWork spaces, whether they’re hosting their own events or eating it for lunch, a company representative tells me. But by not serving or paying for any poultry, pork, or red meat at any official WeWork events (fish is still on the table), the company estimates that by 2023, it can save an estimated 16.6 billion gallons of water, 445.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions, and 15,507,103 animals.
WeWork has announced its taking its sustainability journey a step further through its commitment to becoming a meat-free organization—something that with its 6,000 employees and 253,000 members globally is bound to make a huge difference.
The meat-free initiative making a global impact is something McKelvey, WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, is incredibly proud of—especially given his progressive, teamwork-heavy roots: Growing up in Oregon, he and his mom lived collectively with several of her friends (including barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln’s mom), who ran an alt-weekly newspaper together. “One thing that inspires me most about WeWork is our ability to affect positive change. Our team, united together, has no limit when solving any problem,” he wrote in a company email. “We are energized by this opportunity to leave a better world for future generations and appreciate your partnership as we continue the journey. The changes you are making every day will truly change the world.”
The commitment is something that will be in full-effect at WeWork’s annual Summer Camp event. In just those three days alone, McKelvey says the company will save more than 10,000 animals—and that’s not even including the other eco-friendly changes also at play. The event will also be 100 percent landfill-free with on-site waste sorting, and all water bottles will be made of recyclable plant materials. The majority of the waste will be recycled, and the remaining will be sent to a carbon recapture incineration facility. WeWork will also redistribute an estimated 21,000 meals via a partnership with the food-waste project 8th Plate.
McKelvey notes that eliminating meat is research-backed for being “one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact—even more than switching to a hybrid car.” And now that WeWork has taking such a big step to fuel global change through its commitment to sustainability, maybe other billion-dollar companies will follow suit.
These sustainable water brands make it easier than ever to ditch plastic bottles. Or, find out some ridiculously simple (and free!) ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.
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