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Virginia Postrel

WeWork’s Meat Ban Tells Us Who They Are

It’s a branding exercise wrapped in environmental responsibility.

Nothing says “we belong” like veggie hot dogs.

Nothing says “we belong” like veggie hot dogs.

Photographer: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

WeWork Cos., the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed startup that rents out co-working and office space, recently told its 6,000 employees worldwide that it won’t pay for any meals that include red meat, poultry or pork. It justified the policy as environmentally friendly.

“New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact,” co-founder Miguel McKelvey said in a memo, “even more than switching to a hybrid car.” (As someone who remembers “Diet for a Small Planet propagandizing for vegetarianism in the 1970s, I wonder about the newness of that claim, which has also been called into question.)