According to an internal memo, WeWork has announced plans to enact a policy that strips the company menu of red meat, poultry, or pork. This move would affect 6,000 employees globally.
Per Bloomberg, WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey said the company will no longer expense meals including meat, announcing that their upcoming “Summer Camp” retreat would forgo offering meat options to attendees at the function. Exceptions will be made for those with religious or dietary concerns, the memo adds. McKelvey was quoted as saying:
“New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact,” said McKelvey in the memo, “even more than switching to a hybrid car.”
Bless his heart. He’s echoing similar points like Greenpeace, which has argued that eliminating meat from one’s diet in an attempt to promote “meat consciousness” (or whatever that means). They outline their goals below:
We’re not advocating that everyone adopt a “meatless” diet tomorrow. But we all must develop “meat consciousness” and reduce the level of meat in our diets. Shifting to more plant-based foods is essential to combatting climate change, soil, air and water pollution, ocean dead zones, and myriad other problems caused by industrial livestock production. If we decide to eat fewer meals with meat or dairy each week, we can have a huge impact on our collective health and the health of the planet.
In response to this proposal, many have called this policy “tyrannical” and rightly so. Up at Slate, here’s a good explanation of the deleterious impact this policy will have:
Instead, however, WeWork has created a system whereby, as a WeWork employee, I need to start worrying if I take a client out to lunch and she orders the Brussels sprouts. (After all, any decent chef will tell you that the easiest and most effective way to make Brussels sprouts delicious is to throw some bacon fat in there.)…Internally, WeWork’s policy is pretty incoherent: It bans lamb, for instance, and it bans chicken, but it doesn’t ban eggs. Eggs cause just as much environmental damage as chickens do, and much less than lamb does. It’s hard to see much environmental logic in a policy that’s fine with factory-farmed salmon but that forbids people from eating pigeon. (There are far too many pigeons in the world, eat as many as you want.)…Culturally, too, the policy makes little sense. If office managers want to serve delicious and healthy vegetarian food for their employees, that’s fantastic, but the ease of doing so, and the degree to which those employees will embrace the meal, varies wildly from city to city and from country to country. In New York or Tokyo, it’s easy to bring in a sushi chef who has amazing access to a huge range of fresh fish; in Kansas City or Buenos Aires, it’s much harder, and workers will be much less excited if you do. Vegetarians and pescatarians are a bit like Jews: They’re not only a minority, but they’re a very unevenly distributed minority, very common in some areas and almost unheard-of in others.
The Slate author is right that this isn’t rooted in caring for the environment. It’s about “wokeness” and virtue signaling:
WeWork’s policy, then, is not really about environmental impact: There would be much easier and much more effective ways of reducing the company’s carbon footprint. And while the policy will surely save a certain amount of money, I doubt that’s the driving motivation either. Instead, this is a perfect case study in virtue signaling. Call it performative vegetarianism: This is a policy that will gain McKelvey plaudits and social status among the woke billionaires of Powder Mountain, at the cost of massive HR headaches and generalized employee resentment in the kind of places he doesn’t particularly care about.
Why should our food habits by mandated by company heads or the federal government? If you want to be a good steward of the environment, you don’t have to capitulate to rabid vegans and similar activists. Stop coercing people to sacrifice their eating habits that’ll render little profound impact to save the planet. Heck, stop mandating laws and get out of global redistributive agreements compelling us to pay (or redistribute) our wealth to nations that pollute in far greater quantities than we do. In fact, pulling out of the Paris Accords has proven to be beneficial to our country, with us having reduced our CO2 emissions without the UN telling us to do so.
Let’s hope WeWork employees to stand up to this ridiculous policy for its hypocritical nature.