Executive Summary

WRI Has Adopted a Strategic Plan For 2008-2012 to steer our work at this crucial time in human history. The issues we focus upon—climate change, ecosystem protection, environmental governance, green markets, and sustainable transportation—have become ever more urgent. Yet, in the United States and around the world, the response of governments and key institutions has lagged.

The urgent challenge for WRI is to help trigger the transformative changes required to solve these environmental crises within the short timeframe that scientists say the world must act.

New Frontiers: Focus on China, India, Brazil

To this end, under our five-year plan, we will: focus more rigorously on results; expand our presence in key emerging countries; emphasize communications to expand our reach and impact; and increase synergy and innovation among our programs. Most importantly, after 25 years based solely in Washington, D.C., by 2012 WRI will establish a full-time presence in three key emerging countries—China, India, and Brazil. These economies are already among the ten greatest emitters of greenhouse gases, and it is imperative that WRI maximize our efforts within their borders. Our first overseas office, in Beijing, opened in 2008. Both China’s government and private sector have welcomed WRI’s objective, analytical, and collaborative approach.

Proven Approach: Managing For Results

In implementing our strategic plan, WRI will build on our strong focus on results. We define these as significant actions taken as a consequence of our activities and influence, by government agencies, corporations, policy-makers, scientists, or civil society. Our results or “outcomes” are generated through a highly focused system of clear goals and 3–5 year strategic objectives. Many are achieved in collaboration with WRI’s more than 400 partner organizations around the world.

Our View Of A Sustainable World

To inform our strategic plan, WRI conducted a comprehensive analysis of key global trends affecting our work. This has led us to strengthen our focus on avoiding a climate catastrophe and reversing the accelerating degradation of ecosystems and their life-sustaining goods and services. It also identified the following paths to work toward our goals:

  • Taking advantage of the new multipolar world with its diverse centers of political and economic power.
  • Engaging with an expanding global middle class, especially in Asia, whose decisions will shape our world’s future, while responding to the challenges of globalization including unprecedented consumption and widening inequality.
  • Responding to the impacts of an increasingly urban world on the natural environment.
  • Promoting convergence of new technologies for a sustainable, low-carbon world.