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NEW YORK — Office space sharing company WeWork says it is no longer serving red or white meat at company events.

In an email to employees Thursday, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Miguel McKelvey said the company won't serve pork, poultry or red meat, and it won't allow employees to expense meals that include those meats to the company. Fish will stay on the menu.

McKelvey said the change means WeWork will use less water and produce less carbon dioxide as well as saving the lives of animals.

The company said employees are welcome to bring whatever food they want to work.

The policy is effective immediately and also applies to the company's Summer Camp gathering in the United Kingdom in August. McKelvey wrote that WeWork could save 10,000 animals by eliminating meat at the upcoming Summer Camp event. It has 6,000 employees and some 5,000 attended the event in 2017.

Reader Poll Results

Do you agree with WeWork disallowing employees to expense meals that include pork, poultry or red meat?

WeWork has locations in 22 countries and a total of 75 cities, including 24 in the U.S. The company declined to say how much water it expects to save in 2018 or 2019 from the new policy, or how much carbon dioxide it could save in the next two years. The company gave longer term projections based on its estimates for future growth over five years.

WeWork's meat policy may be unique, but the company is joining a group of companies that have recently looked for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Coffee chain Starbucks, airlines including American and Alaska, and the Hilton and Hyatt hotel chains have all recently announced that they will stop using plastic straws so they produce less plastic waste. Some cities have banned the straws as well.

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Comments

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  • Corax
    July 16, 2018 at 10:34 a.m.

    What a good idea! Why should private companies subsidize practices that can harm the environment and the health of their employees? Let's hope that other companies have the courage to follow their lead.

  • Whippersnapper
    July 16, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.

    They will selectively enforce this policy to allow their best employees to do whatever they want, unless they're stupid. Enforcing a policy that alienates 95% of your potential employees around the world (most estimates put vegetarians at under 5% of the population) may make great headlines, but they make terrible business practices.

  • FayFan
    July 16, 2018 at 1:10 p.m.

    Whip, read the article. The company is no longer going to serve red meat or poultry in house, nor pay for meals that include them at restaurants. But this policy does not force vegetarianism on anyone. Employees can brown bag anything they want.

  • PopMom
    July 16, 2018 at 1:13 p.m.

    Again, a company sticks its nose into its employees' business. Employers should neither control their employees' eating habits nor their contraception. Pregnant women especially should eat meat. I know two vegetarian, anorexic women whose babies were protein deprived. One child cannot even walk.

  • zzzzipy12
    July 16, 2018 at 2:10 p.m.

    Did Hitler eat red or white meat?

  • Whippersnapper
    July 16, 2018 at 2:47 p.m.

    Fay,
    Read the article - "...it won't allow employees to expense meals that include those meats to the company."
    .
    If I am an executive or salesman who travels for the company, my meals aren't covered unless I agree to their craziness. I know lots of top performers who are on the road 10-15 days a month who are now being told by this company that they will basically have to foot their own meal bills while traveling because they like a burger or a pepperoni pizza or a barbecue sandwich or a fettucine alfredo with grilled chicken.
    .
    THAT is where the problem will be with the talent - This company has just told 95% of the world that if you hire on as a sales person or mid level manager (or upper level manager) who is expected to travel and expense meals, you will have to foot your own bill.
    .
    Not only that, but you are telling potential clients in client meetings that you won't foot the bill if they order steak or chicken during the meeting. This is a dumb business move.

  • BobfromMarion
    July 16, 2018 at 2:58 p.m.

    I suspect that companies have the legal right to serve whatever food that they wish at meals paid for by the company and the meals are considered working meals. The article does allow employees to brown bag any foods they wish. However! I also suspect that listing the kinds of foods that can be reimbursed is on shaky ground. Refusing to pay for a hamburger and being specific what the company will pay for places an undo restriction on employees. Menus are very limited at some cafes. Some people don't like either chicken and/or fish. Great protein vegetable dishes are not common in many cafes. Certainly setting a maximum amount that the company will pay for is not only legal, but good business practice. This is a bit of overreach by a company being overzealous in trying to protect the environment.

  • ObieOne
    July 16, 2018 at 3:26 p.m.

    I think All companies should ban the use of electricity! The costs and methods of production are ruining the planet. In fact People are destroying the planet! Until we all agree to go back into caves, drink ground water and hunt our own food, the planet is doomed.

  • Packman
    July 16, 2018 at 4:12 p.m.

    More power to this private company to implement work rules consistent with their core values. Although, it would be nice if they would explain why killing a sailfish for food is better for the environment than killing a wild white-tailed deer? Wouldn't the policy be better if it allowed wild game to be expensed instead of farm raised fish or species of concern from the ocean?
    .
    The Starbuck's ban on straws has shown that it will actually cause more plastic to be used than before due to the need for additional plastic in their newly designed plastic lids. But hey, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  • tlile
    July 16, 2018 at 4:45 p.m.

    They said employees can bring their own food. Seems OK to me. Just bring your own food!

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