Sustainable Events and Catering
WRI recognizes the diversity in tastes and cultures of our staff and visitors. At the same time, our research into shifting diets shows that food choices have a great impact on the environment. Putting more plant-based food on people’s plates can mitigate climate-warming emissions from the food sector while helping to close the global food gap. Our food and events policy takes these findings into account. It also aims to minimize food and material waste. At WRI events, visitors can expect:
- A variety of tasty vegetarian and/or vegan food options
- Responsibly-sourced food ingredients (e.g. locally-produced, organic, fair trade, etc.)
- Minimal packaging from food deliveries and single-serving beverages and snacks
- Recycling and compost bins with clear signage
- Just-right portion sizes to reduce food waste
- Information about how WRI and other organizations can take delicious climate action.
To support our efforts, we look for caterers who offer a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options, implement energy, water and waste reduction efforts, and contribute to our shared local communities through excess food donations or other social benefit programs.
Global Paper Purchasing Principles
After testing samples of paper used in WRI’s offices and finding potentially-controversial products, WRI began adopting the following best practices across its offices:
- Minimizing our overall consumption of paper products and maximizing recycling;
- Only purchasing paper products that are environmentally and socially sound, with the following attributes:
- Raw materials are sourced responsibly and transparently, originating from legally and responsibly managed forests;
- Final products are sustainably produced — (1) Contain high levels of appropriately used recycled content; (2) Reduced outputs of harmful pollution by using safer manufacturing methods; and (3) Manufactured by companies with strong commitments to sustainable production and operations
We also prioritize:
- The purchase of products that have received independent, 3rd party verification for the attributes listed above;
- The purchase of domestic products to support regional sustainability and reduce the impacts from transportation in a complex supply chain.
How WRI implements these best practices varies from office to office, as supply chains and verification programs differ by region. For example, WRI U.S. uses the following criteria for its paper products:
- Must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), prioritizing those certified and produced in the United States. At minimum, the certification MUST provide information about the percent of certified material in the product, supporting the need for full transparency along the supply chain. Preference is given to products with 100% certified material, when available.
- Contains a higher content of post-consumer recycled content than recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency
- Does not use any chlorine or chlorine-derivative during bleaching (process chlorine free, total chlorine free, or enhanced elemental chlorine free)
- Produced by companies that have set public targets or goals around environmental and/or social performance and publically report progress
Building Sustainability Into Our Subgrants
To learn more about the level of sustainability in our subgrantees’ operations, we have included a sustainability questionnaire in WRI’s organizational assessment packet. The Organizational Assessment is completed by all of WRI’s potential subgrant recipients, providing WRI with the necessary information about their organization in order to receive funding. This data helps WRI better engage our subgrant recipients on sustainability best practices and actions that can help reduce our collective impact.