Our Mission & Values
WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. Our mission and values guide all the work we do.
Our Strategic Approach
We embrace the motto of “count it, change it, scale it” to create lasting impact. We start with rigorous research, test evidence-based approaches globally and in focus countries, and mobilize unique partnerships to affect change around the world. Some key elements of our strategic approach include:
- We put three interconnected goals for people, nature and climate at the center of all we do. We work to meet people’s essential needs; protect and restore ecosystem health; and hold global warming to 1.5 degrees C and build climate-resilient communities.
- We seek systemic change. We combat the main drivers of inequity, ecosystem degradation and climate change by transforming the way the world produces and uses food and energy and designs its cities — including by shifting the economics, finance and governance that underpin these three human systems.
- We support transitions in key countries. In addition to global projects, we have a coordinated regional presence in Africa and Europe and dive deep in 12 focus countries: Brazil, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and the United States. We selected these nations because they house some of the largest populations of vulnerable people, hold much of the world’s remaining natural landscapes and produce significant greenhouse gas emissions.
- We focus on impact. We measure our success not by internal benchmarks, but by whether we’ve markedly improved the world for people, nature and the climate. We root our work in evidence-based theories of change, clear targets and a process for assessing, adjusting and scaling progress.
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WRI was founded by Gus Speth in 1982 in Washington, D.C. with a founding grant of $15 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Over time, WRI evolved into a global organization focused on turning research into results. The organization now boasts nearly 1,800 staff around the world. Learn more about our history of results over the last 40 years.
A Commitment to Diversity
To achieve our global goals, WRI brings together a workforce from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. As the challenges of racial injustice, inequity, poverty, ecosystem degradation and climate change are inseparable, so, too, are the solutions. We recognize that diversity in all its forms is pivotal to our success. We aspire to foster an atmosphere where everyone feels welcomed and supported.
Transparency & Accountability
WRI relies on the generosity of our donors to drive outcomes that improve the world for people, nature and the climate. We publish our financials annually to highlight our continued fiscal accountability. That's why WRI consistently receives top ratings from charity evaluators for our strong financial stewardship and commitment to transparency and accountability.