World Resource Institute

Equipping WRI for the Task

Equipping WRI for the Task

Our delivery capacity must rise commensurate with our ambitions. From improvements to financial systems and risk management to impact evaluation and quality enhancement, we will invest heavily in ensuring we are good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, and accountable for our impact. Above all, we will invest in our greatest asset: our world-class experts and staff, who will increasingly be located in emerging countries and Africa.

“WRI pursues institutional excellence in the same way it does its program goals—with data, analysis, innovation and determination to deliver results.”
—Pamela P. Flaherty, Former President and CEO, Citi Foundation; Board Vice Chair, WRI

As our global network grows, we will increase the integration of programs, international offices and centers. Our programs will bear the primary responsibility for crafting strategies and designing delivery platforms that catalyze systemic change. We will expand the role of our international offices and empower them to become increasingly self-sufficient. We will strengthen our centers of excellence so that WRI benefits from first-class expertise in business, economics, finance and governance. These goals will be supported by continued innovation in the core functions described below.

Ensuring Research Excellence

In a world where evidence-based decisions are sorely needed, we will intensify the production of timely, high quality, decision-relevant knowledge. We will strengthen the ability of our international offices to conduct research and apply review processes that ensure world-class standards. We will support the development of digital products that provide tailored data for specific decisions, adapt global knowledge products for use by our international offices and foster South-South knowledge sharing. We will enhance WRI’s research and analytical capacity on the priorities in this strategy, including health, social equity, gender and human security through new hires and by bringing top experts to WRI as senior fellows.

Communicating for Impact

To expand WRI’s reach, influence and impact, we will place greater emphasis on the human and poverty-reduction dimensions of our work. We will go global, shifting content creation and dissemination patterns from hub-and-spoke to a global network, with more content created in our international offices for global use and more content in multiple languages. We will go digital, increasing investment in the latest channels, products and tools to engage directly with decision makers and those who influence them. And we will go after big questions, helping to shape WRI’s research and analysis so that our communications work can deliver agenda-setting answers.

Strengthening Accountability for Results

We will revamp our Managing for Results platform to help teams develop and deploy delivery platforms that catalyze systemic change. Focusing on WRI’s seven global challenges, we will monitor progress, support implementation and learn from successes and failures. Robust five-year strategies and annual plans with clear metrics will increase the likelihood of achieving results. In addition to our quadrennial independent external review, we will commission independent evaluations of major initiatives. We will increase the integration of monitoring, evaluation and learning across our work.

Managing Risk

As WRI grows and globalizes, risk management is ever more crucial to our success. We will hold ourselves accountable for excellence in risk management. Building on the work of our new Global Operations Team, we will enhance tools and metrics for assessing risk in our international offices and undertake an annual risk/capacity audit. These will inform investments in areas such as financial management, human resources, and grants and contract management, to mitigate risk. We will recruit an in-house legal counsel to help navigate the diverse legal environments in which we operate.

Investing in Our Staff

Our more than 700 staff come from nearly 50 countries and reside in more than 30, with more than half in the developing world. Moving forward, we will increase the proportion of hires in our international offices and create more opportunities for staff mobility across our global network. In support of this strategy, we will recruit staff skilled in social equity, gender, health, human security, technology, behavioral economics and political economy. We will adopt a more flexible work environment that combines remote working and shared workspaces to create more vibrant work environments while reducing costs and our carbon footprint.

Resourcing Our Ambitions

From 2012 to 2017, WRI’s budget more than doubled to $97 million. We expect more moderate growth moving forward, but will need to mobilize additional funds for our frontline work. We will continue to engage our major donors as partners with whom we co-create and co-execute strategies. We will strengthen our ability to secure and manage large, multiyear grants from complex funding mechanisms such as multilateral funds. We will ensure that each international office has a stable revenue pipeline by adding fundraising and donor stewardship capacity, recruiting philanthropists to each international office board. We will deepen our partnerships in Europe, particularly on Africa, by adding staff in The Hague and other cities. We will also diversify our European funding streams, building relationships with additional ministries, foundations, corporations and individuals. Finally, we will increase discretionary revenue through Institute-level agreements, flexible support to programs and unrestricted gifts and fees for the advisory services we provide to corporate partners.

“Tackling the world’s greatest environmental problems requires vision, effective leadership and a willingness to take calculated risks. WRI’s new strategy reflects all of these essential elements.”
—Frances Beinecke Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Board Member, WRI


WRI Leadership

WRI’s Boards of Directors are critical to implementing this strategy. Renowned leaders in their fields, members of our boards provide valuable guidance, influential voices and exceptional access to decision makers. They also generously contribute funding and connect WRI to donors. In addition to the Global Board that has overseen WRI since we were founded 35 years ago, we now have international office boards in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Europe, and an advisory board in China. To more fully leverage the potential of these boards, we will establish innovative shared governance practices and become more systematic in how we tap board members for advice and assistance.

WRI Global Board of Directors

James A. Harmon
Chairman, Caravel Management LLC; Former President, U.S. Export-Import Bank

Pamela P. Flaherty
Former President and CEO, Citi Foundation; Former Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi

Susan Tierney
Senior Advisor, Analysis Group, Inc.

Harriet C. Babbitt
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States

Frances Beinecke
Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Afsaneh M. Beschloss
Founder and CEO, Rock Creek

David Blood
Co-founder and Senior Partner, Generation Investment Management

Joke Brandt
Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Felipe Calderón
Former President of Mexico; Chair, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

Robin Chase
Founder, Zipcar, Buzzcar, Veniam

Tiffany Clay
CEO, Saddleback Holdings

Daniel Cruise
Global Vice President, Arconic

Dino Patti Djalal
Former Deputy Foreign Minister, Republic of Indonesia

Daniel L. Doctoroff
Chairman and CEO, Sidewalk Labs

Christiana Figueres
Former Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Jamshyd N. Godrej
Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

Caio Koch-Weser
Chair, European Climate Foundation; Former Vice Chairman, Deutsche Bank Group

Jonathan Lash
President, Hampshire College

Jennifer Scully-Lerner
Vice President of Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs

Joaquim Levy
Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer, World Bank Group

Wanjira Mathai
Chair, The Greenbelt Movement; Co-chair, Global Restoration Council

Preston R. Miller, Jr.
Partner, The Tremont Group, LLC

Michael Polsky
President and CEO, Invenergy

Bill Richardson
Former Governor of New Mexico; Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Former U.S. Secretary of Energy

Stephen M. Ross
Chairman and Founder, Related Companies

Roger W. Sant
Chairman, The Summit Foundation; Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, The AES Corporation

Andrew Steer
President and CEO, WRI

Clinton A. Vince
Chair, Global Energy Practice, Dentons

Daniel Weiss
Co-founder and Managing Partner, Angeleno Group

Executive Team

Andrew Steer
President and CEO

Manish Bapna
Executive Vice President and Managing Director

Steve Barker
Vice President and Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Elizabeth Cook
Vice President for Institutional Strategy & Development

Kitty van der Heijden
Regional Director for Africa & Europe

Renuka Iyer
Global Director for Human Resources

Lawrence MacDonald
Vice President for Communications

Rebecca Marshall
Chief of Staff

Janet Ranganathan
Vice President for Science and Research

Jocelyn Starzak
General Counsel

International & Regional Office Directors

Rachel Biderman

Fang Li

Kitty van der Heijden
Africa/Ethiopia & Europe/Netherlands

Om Prakash Agarwal

Adriana Lobo

Nirarta Samadhi

Global Program & Center Directors

Kevin Moss

Ani Dasgupta

Paula Caballero

Jennifer Layke

Helen Mountford

Leonardo Martinez-Diaz

Craig Hanson
Food, Forests & Water

Rod Taylor

Mark Robinson

Betsy Otto

Get Involved

To foster deeper involvement in WRI’s work, we offer programs for corporate and individual donors and Institute alumni.

Corporate Consultative Group

is a global, cross-industry membership network of companies that engage with WRI experts, drive business value through WRI’s tools and research, and stay up to date on cutting-edge intelligence, trends and solutions.

Global Advisory Council

is an invitation-only group of individuals committed to helping enhance WRI’s profile, resources and effectiveness. At the same time, members gain access to WRI insights, research and analysis.

Sustainers Circle

is a committed group of individuals whose support of $1,000 or more helps WRI respond to emerging opportunities, seed new work and invest in innovation. Members are invited to informative, exciting events and briefings, and receive weekly updates on WRI’s work.


is a new organization linking hundreds of former WRI staff to each other and current WRI staff. Launched in January 2017 with an alumni edition of WRI’s Stories to Watch, the association welcomes all former staff and board members, who stay in touch through a new Facebook group, WRI Alumni Network.


Founded in Washington in 1982 to address international issues at the intersection of environment and development, the World Resources Institute is today a global research-to-action organization. Much has changed since our founding, but WRI’s mission—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—is more urgent and important today than ever. Our work continues to be guided by our values: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. Our strategy builds upon this foundation as we strive to raise our game at a critical juncture.


Our View of the World: Nicolas Mirguet/Flickr; Tackling Global Challenges: zhongguo/iStock; Food: Yayan Indriatmoko/CIFOR; Forests: Nanang Sujana/CIFOR; Water: Lawrence Murray/Flickr; Energy: Daniel Brock/Flickr; Cities: asmuSe/ pixabay; Climate: Asian Development Bank/Flickr; The Ocean: andrea rizzato/Flickr; Our Global Network in Action: Geraint Rowland/Flickr; Africa: Ben Symonds/Flickr; Brazil: Amauri Aguiar/Flickr; China: Pal Sol/Flickr; Europe: Diliff/Wikimedia Commons; India: amira_a/Flickr; Indonesia: jaywei80/Flickr; Mexico: WRI México; United States: Erik Drost/Flickr; Cross-Cutting Expertise: Nikada/iStock; Business: Walmart/Flickr; Economics: Visty Banaji; Finance: Luis Villa del Campo/Flickr; Governance: Asian Development Bank/Flickr; Equipping WRI for the Task: xijian/iStock.

Maps are for illustrative purposes and do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of WRI concerning the legal status of any country or territory or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.