THE woRLD resources Institute (WRI) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit environmental organization that tries to find practical applications for theoretical research on the protection of the Earth and the improvement of people's lives. WRI supplies information and proposals for policies that promote a sustainable development both in environmental and social terms. WRI is based in Washington, D.C., and has a staff of more than 100 scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts, mapmakers, and communicators.
The institute takes as its point of departure for action the fact that the shift to low-carbon technology will only occur by persuading owners and shareholders of its profitability. To WRI, business investors are instrumental in solving the climate crisis. WRI produces a highly respected biennial publication, the World Resources report, which supplies data and in-depth analysis on current environmental issues, including, for example, the importance of efficient ecosystem management for rural poverty relief. The report is a collaborative product of WRI with the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme, and UN Development Programme. World Resources was launched in 1986 to bridge the gap in information about the conditions of the world's natural resources.
goals and activities
The activities of the institute are structured around four key areas and goals. In the field of people and ecosystems, the institute aims to reverse the process of rapid degradation of ecosystems and guarantee their ability to provide humans with needed goods and services. Regarding access to information, WRI attempts to improve public knowledge about decisions on natural resources and the environment. In the area of climate protection, energy, and transport, WRI is active in the protection of the global climate system from further harm caused by emissions of greenhouse gases. The institute is also committed to help humanity and the natural world adapt to the climate change that is already taking place. As for markets and enterprise, WRI seeks to promote an economic development that will increase social opportunities and, at the same time, protect the environment. WRI has worked with the private sector to find profitable solutions that have both economic and environmental benefits. WRI also created the accounting system which companies all over the world use to account for their greenhouse gas emissions.
WRI was founded in June 1982 by American lawyer and environmental activist James Gustave Speth. Speth, a former chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality and later professor of law at Georgetown University, also acted as WRI's first director. He held this position until January 1993, when he became director of the UN Development Programme and was then succeeded by Jonathan Lash, senior staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council from 1978 to 1985. The institute was created thanks to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago, which provided $15 million to help finance the first five years of WRI. The institute was organized as a nonprofit Delaware corporation that could receive tax-deductible contributions under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. WRI was founded not as an activist environmental membership organization but as an independent institution that should carry out scientifically sound research and suggest viable policies.
In 1985, WRI was one of the first research centers to organize an international meeting on the rising emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. During its over two decades of activity, WRI has attracted other centers that have decided to merge with the institute, including the North American office of the International Office for Environment and Development and the Management Institute for Environment and Business. In 1990, the UN Development Programme commissioned WRI with a study that eventually resulted in the creation of the Global Environment Facility. Throughout the 1990s, WRI played a key role in initiatives aimed to contain the phenomenon of global warming. In 1992, the institute made important contributions to the development of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was then signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
In 1999, WRI committed to stopping its own emissions of carbon dioxide. The institute has also created several important networks such as the Global Forest Watch, which monitors the conditions of forests; the Access Initiative, a global forum of civil society organizations committed to improving citizen access to information and favor their participation in decisions that affect the environment;
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