World Resources Institute

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The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an environmental think tank founded in 1982 based in Washington, D.C. in the United States.[1]

WRI is an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit organization with a staff of more than 100 scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts, mapmakers, and communicators developing and promoting policies with the intention of protecting the Earth and improving people’s lives.[2]

WRI organizes its work around four key goals:

  • Climate, Energy & Transport. Protect the global climate system from further harm due to emissions of greenhouse gases and help humanity and the natural world adapt to unavoidable climate change.
  • Governance & Access: Guarantee public access to information and decisions regarding natural resources and the environment.
  • Markets & Enterprise: Harness markets and enterprise to expand economic opportunity and protect the environment.
  • People & Ecosystems: Reverse rapid degradation of ecosystems and assure their capacity to provide humans with needed goods and services.[3]

WRI is probably best known for its biennial publication, the World Resources report, a well-regarded collection of data and in-depth analysis on current environmental issues. The most recent edition of World Resources, entitled The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty, explored the importance of good ecosystem management for the alleviation of rural poverty. The report is a collaborative product of World Resources Institute with the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme.


[edit] WRI's mission

WRI's mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

[edit] History

  • 1982. James Gustave (Gus) Speth launches WRI with an investment from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
  • 1984. WRI convenes the Global Possible Conference of 75 experts and leaders in science, government, industry, agriculture, energy, and environmental studies from 20 countries to develop a set of practical proposals to address pressing global environmental and development issues.
  • 1985. WRI helps organize the first international meeting in Villach, Austria, on the build up of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • 1986. Recognizing a serious gap in information about the condition of the world's natural resources, WRI launches World Resources, a biennial global assessment of environmental conditions and trends that for the first time provides country by country environmental data.
  • 1988. The North American office of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED-NA) merges with WRI to become the Center for International Development and Environment and the largest program within the Institute.
  • 1990. The United Nations Development Programme commissions a feasibility study by WRI which lays the foundation for creation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • 1992. WRI and its partners launch the Global Biodiversity Strategy which played a major role in the development of the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1993. Jonathan Lash becomes WRI's new President after Gus Speth leaves WRI to become Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.
  • 1993. WRI co-chairs the President's Council on Sustainable Development, a group of industry, environmental and labor CEOs joined by five cabinet secretaries.
  • 1996. The Management Institute for Environment and Business (MEB) merges with WRI.
  • 1999. WRI moves to a greener office space and becomes the first NGO to commit to reducing its own carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero.
  • 2000. WRI launches Global Forest Watch, the first independent on-line network for monitoring forests.
  • 2000. WRI convenes a core team of civil society organizations from around the world to establish The Access Initiative (TAI). TAI is the only global movement committed to improving citizen access to information, participation, and justice in decisions that affect the environment.
  • 2001. WRI launches EarthTrends, an online collection of data and information regarding the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape our world.
  • 2001. WRI and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) convene 50+ companies to establish the GHG Protocol, an international standard for measuring and reporting emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • 2003. WRI's Green Power Market Development Group, a partnership of Fortune 500 companies dedicated to building corporate markets for renewable energy, completes the larges commercial and industrial purchases of renewable energy in U.S. history.
  • 2004. WRI convenes the first major conference aimed at addressing ways in which business can reduce global poverty by meeting the needs of the world's poorest people at the "base of the economic pyramid." WRI continues the dialogue online through
  • 2005. Mexico City launches its first Bus Rapid Transit Corridor. The bus system is the centerpiece of a unique partnership between Mexico City and EMBARQ: The WRI Center for Sustainable Transport.
  • 2006. WRI's New Ventures project engages leading sustainable investment funds to increase the flow of capital to small and medium size business in emerging economies, resulting in the transfer of more than $19 million to 140 companies.
  • 2007. The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) calls on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation that requires significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Coalition members include WRI, NRDC, Environmental Defense, Pew Center, Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, GE, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, and PNM Resources.
  • 2008. WRI began plans for an eco-friendly Green Roof for their building in downtown Washington D.C.

[edit] References

  1. ^ World Resources Institute. (2009). About WRI. Retrieved March 8, 2009, from,
  2. ^ World Resources Institute. (2009). About WRI. Retrieved March 8, 2009, from,
  3. ^ World Resources Institute.About WRI. Retrieved March 8, 2009, from,

[edit] External links

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