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Sustainability at WRI

The World Resources Institute’s Sustainability Initiative seeks to align the Institute’s business practices with its mission. Using research and expertise from staff to guide us, WRI is committed to reducing the environmental and social impact of its operations.


The Sustainability Initiative at WRI

At WRI, we work hard to put ideas into action, meet our mission and goals, and ultimately protect the earth and promote sustainable development. This hard work leads to many positive results and outcomes, but it also contributes to our own environmental footprint. Each day, the electricity we use to power our offices, the business travel we take to meet with partners, and the goods and services we purchase to complete our projects have an impact on the environment.

The role of WRI’s Sustainability Initiative is to work with WRI’s operations to “walk the talk”, both reducing the environmental impact of our work and acting as a “living laboratory” to apply our own research to real-world experiences.

We strive to accomplish this by:

  • Tracking and reducing environmental and social impacts related to our four programmatic goals: climate protection, governance, markets and enterprise, and people and ecosystems; and

  • Communicating and sharing knowledge with partners and colleagues to advance the use of sustainability management for organizations.

In order to fund these efforts and reinvest in projects that contribute to WRI’s sustainability, we charge an internal carbon fee to our programs for emissions from air travel, electricity, and employee commuting. To learn more about our internal funding structure, contact Laura Draucker at ldraucker@wri.org.

Sustainability Commitments

In 2011, WRI committed to absolute GHG reductions for our three largest sources of emissions, setting our targets for 2020. To track our progress towards our 2020 targets, please see our annual GHG inventory reports.

If you would like to hear more about our strategies to meet these targets, please contact Amanda Stevens.



History of WRI’s Sustainability Efforts

To put our mission into action both internally and externally, WRI has had a long-standing commitment to “learning and leading by doing.”

In 1999, WRI was the first NGO to complete a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and set a net zero reduction target. From 2000–2009, we met that target through the purchase of offsets. Throughout this time, we also provided guidance for other office-based organizations to measure and manage their own inventories.

However, as our total GHG emissions continued to rise over the years, it became clear that just purchasing offsets was not setting the right example for our partners and colleagues or demonstrating the level of commitment needed to mitigate climate change impacts. Furthermore, we recognized that our operations were contributing to other environmental and social impacts that are core to our mission, but were not being addressed through any formal initiative.These realizations prompted the launch of the sustainability initiative in 2011.

To read up on WRI’s past sustainability efforts, please read our historical GHG inventories, available here.

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