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No more meaty expense claims

WeWork will no longer reimburse staff for meals that include meat - does this mark a shift?

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Office rental firm WeWork has announced it will no longer reimburse its employees for meals containing poultry, pork and red meat, and will also stop serving meat at its events.

The $20bn US firm claimed animal welfare and environmental concerns were behind the move and cited research that states avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact.

While smaller business have implemented similar policies, the coworking company is the most high profile to make the move. But what do you think?

Will a lack of meat on the menu be a common corporate trait in the next few years from firms looking to reduce their carbon foodprint, or is this just prescriptive virtue signalling from Silicon Valley?

Replies (67)

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Replying to DJKL:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Jul 2018 11:43

Restricting what employees and contacts can do on your behalf has been standard practice in the charitable sector and, with ethics finally arriving in business, I see nothing wrong in organisations making similar restrictions.

For example, it would be hypocritical to market yourself as a green business if you then flew everyone around the world or paid for high emitting vehicles or their mileage.

In my own case there are businesses I won’t act for and, when I was a partner, expenditure I would not agree to share.

Animal welfare aside, the livestock industry creates about the same greenhouse gas as all of transport put together, and it depletes unnecessarily soil health and water availability. So why would a company want to contribute to it if they didn’t have to?

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
18th Jul 2018 12:08

"Animal welfare aside, the livestock industry creates about the same greenhouse gas as all of transport put together, and it depletes unnecessarily soil health and water availability. So why would a company want to contribute to it if they didn’t have to?"

A blanket statement re all livestock farming that may be correct looking at impacts from an industry wide perspective but may certainly not be the case on a case by case basis , and there is the problem, broad dogma from the big picture applied downwards to individual farms or even individual fields; within sustainability one size does not fit all.

Sustainability re land use is surely growing/raising the right produce from the particular piece of land with an eye on what inputs will be needed and what distribution of the finished product will be needed, that generally requires, in some fields, on some farms, livestock.

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By meadowsaw227
18th Jul 2018 10:14

Does that mean the "nutters" are starting to win.

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By jimeth
18th Jul 2018 10:19

And for those of us with nut allergies, a high proportion of veggie options are unsuitable because they rely on nuts for a good proportion of the protein.

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Replying to jimeth:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Jul 2018 10:26

You’re wrong - practically all my protein comes from pulses and grain. I’ve just looked up the best sources of plant protein and nuts come in at number 16.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By jimeth
18th Jul 2018 11:02

Maybe so. But if I went into a restaurant and tried to find something vegetarian on the menu which did not contain nuts, chilli, spice or other things which I cannot eat then in most restaurants I would have zero choice. My choice is often limited enough without cutting out the meat and fish options.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By jimeth
18th Jul 2018 11:02

Maybe so. But if I went into a restaurant and tried to find something vegetarian on the menu which did not contain nuts, chilli, spice or other things which I cannot eat then in most restaurants I would have zero choice. My choice is often limited enough without cutting out the meat and fish options.

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Replying to jimeth:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Jul 2018 11:30

I face similar problems avoiding dairy or egg products that abound in veggie meals but if it really was a problem then I’d expect an employer to make exceptions

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Replying to jimeth:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Jul 2018 11:30

I face similar problems avoiding dairy or egg products that abound in veggie meals but if it really was a problem then I’d expect an employer to make exceptions

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By Mr_awol
18th Jul 2018 11:01

Interestingly the first glassdoor review on this company described it (albeit positively) as "the closest thing you can come to a cult". Most of the others describe it as slave driving, with little respect for work-life balance or employee happiness. Apparently they do give out free beer (if you can ever get a break long enough to drink it).

I've got no issue with them choosing not to serve meat products on site. They have their own values which they are fully entitled to.

I wouldn't even have any objection to them incentivising staff to reduce meat consumption - say by paying slightly more than the reimbursement cost of veggie only meals, or only paying up to a threshold that meant staff would need to pay for a meat 'upgrade' personally (although unlike the poster above, id say veggie options are as likely to cost more in many cases as they are to cost less)

However if an employee has a valid expense claim I don't think it is right for the employer to abuse their position of power to enforce their own values on an unwilling workforce. I'd be putting my claim in and making a nuisance of myself - or just leaving.

I think this takes vegan/vegetarian self-satisfaction to a whole new level.

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By ShayaG
18th Jul 2018 11:42

I think as a matter of employment practice, refusing to reimburse employees for reasonable expenditure incurred in the course of the furtherance of the employer's business because the employer disagree with the societally reasonable dietary choices made by the employee is a dark and potentially larcenous move.

The way to effect societal change is surely not to dump the burden on the easiest and least powerful target - employees.

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By sosleepy
18th Jul 2018 13:22

The answer is farming and eating insects. Better for the environment and better from an animal welfare perspective.

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Replying to sosleepy:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Jul 2018 13:33

Not vegetarian, though, is it ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By sosleepy
18th Jul 2018 14:43

What if it's a stick insect?

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Replying to sosleepy:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
18th Jul 2018 16:08

Well, we should not have bothered sorting out extra Swedish Crowns (SEK) to pay for the food shopping for when we depart to Sweden this week, we have enough insect life there to feed us for the duration, the house debugging when we arrive takes the first morning and thereafter it is a constant battle.

The catch is the large insects (never worked out what they are-4 inch or so wingspan) are harmless but have all the nutrition, the ones I dislike ( tiny things in the grass and the mossies), and would in one sense enjoy biting them rather than the other way round, are far too small for a decent snack.

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By finegana
18th Jul 2018 21:38

How ridiculous...headline grabbing dictators

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By sunshine
20th Jul 2018 12:23

It's people power.
If governments won't make factory farming illegal (would anybody on here keep an animal in those conditions?) we'll start doing something about it ourselves.

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