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Global firm bans meat in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint

Global real estate giant WeWork has implemented a company-wide ban on meat. (Image source: YouTube screencap)

Global office space upstart WeWork announced last week that the company is going meat-free in an effort to save the environment.

The real estate giant — which provides shared office spaces to roughly 200,000 members — explained the new policy in an email to its 6,000 employees.

What are the details?

As reported by Bloomberg, co-founder and chief culture officer Miguel McKelvey said in the memo: "New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact, even more than switching to a hybrid car."

WeWork will no longer serve red meat, poultry or pork at company events, only meat-free options are to be offered in its 400 office spaces — and employees will no longer be reimbursed for work-related meals containing meat. Seafood is not included in the prohibition.

Members are still able to bring their own lunches of whatever they choose, so the ban isn't complete. But the company says that by the year 2023, their new initiative will have saved 16.6 billion gallons of water, more than 15 million animals, and 445 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Referring to WeWork's removal of meat from the menu during the company's upcoming 'Summer Camp' meeting, McKelvey wrote: "In just the three days we are together, we estimate that we can save more than 10,000 animals. The team has worked hard to create a sustainable, plentiful and delicious menu."

Anything else?

The move is being hailed by environmental groups and animal rights activists, with PETA predictably announcing that it is sending WeWork a "Compassionate Business Award" to recognize the firm's new initiative.

But there is risk involved with taking a bold, public stance as a company. Business law professor Cindy Schipani of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business told CNN, "On the one hand, given the altruistic motives expressed, it's a positive step to want to do something to improve the environment.

"On the other hand, the company is cutting back on an employee benefit, and those employees who do not subscribe to a meat-free diet may become disgruntled."

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