World Resources Institute

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World Resources Institute (WRI)
World Resources Institute logo.jpg
Formation 1982 (1982)
Founder James Gustave Speth
Headquarters Washington, D.C.,
United States
Andrew Steer
Chairman of the Board
James A. Harmon
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014) $77,539,897[1]
Mission 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.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, non-governmental global research organization which seeks to create equity and prosperity through sustainable natural resource management.[2] It was established in 1982 with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[3] under the leadership of James Gustave Speth.[4] WRI is an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit organization with a global staff of more than 450 scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts, mapmakers, and communicators developing and promoting policies with the intention of protecting Earth and improving people’s lives.[2]

WRI's activities are focused on six areas: climate, clean energy, food, forests, water, and sustainable cities.[5] In 2014, Stephen M. Ross, an American real estate developer, gave the organization US$30,500,000 to establish WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.[6]



The world’s energy systems need a change, they have proved ineffective as well as posing a great threat to the entire population. With climate change due to human pollution and activity, as well as more than 1.3 billion people[1] still lacking access to electricity, something needs to be done. While subsidies still continue to support fossil fuel investment, there has been a global shift in more sustainable energy systems. World Resource works with the policymakers of the civil society to transform and change the global energy system. We focus on dramatically reducing greenhouse gas pollution while still providing energy to those in the most poverty-stricken situations.


Society, human activity, and the global economy are all linked to forests; More than 1 billion[2] people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forest ecosystems play critical roles in stabilizing the climate; and providing food, water, wood products, and vital medicines. World Resource aims at curbing deforestation worldwide while helping to restore already-cleared land.


The impacts of an increasing global climate are being felt all around the world, as temperatures have exceeded global averages for 38 consecutive years[3]. Heat waves and extreme weather effects devastate many countries by, destroying agriculture increasing wildfires, and endangering lives. We are working on the national and international level to identify cost-effective solutions that reduce emissions in the short and long-term.


The world’s water system face great threats more than 1 billion people live in water scarce regions with it reaching as many as 3.5 billion in nine years[4]. With problems like increasing pollution and climate change, the amount of water available is exponentially decreasing. Our Aqueduct Project[5] uses the most updated data to produce global risk maps and by conducting the most efficient ways to alleviate stress on the world’s water supply.


The world is projected to have 9.6 billion people by 2050 and in order to sustain it the meeting of three great needs. We have to reduce agriculture’s impact, ecosystems, and water. At World Resource Institute we are developing solutions to meet these needs by first identifying and then advancing methods, such as climate-smart agriculture to solve them.


Traditional models of city development constrict us into congestion, sprawl and inefficient resource use. We aim at creating a compact, connected, and a more efficient city; As it can provide a better quality of life for the citizens. We accomplish this by collaborating with national decision-makers to implement our projects that overcome all of the challenges presented with urbanization.


Some of the major initiatives of WRI include:

  • ACT 2015 is a relatively new project, designed as an international climate change agreement towards a low-carbon, climate resilient world.[7]
  • EMBARQ, the sustainable urban mobility initiative of WRI, founded in 2002, collaborates locally and nationally to implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve the quality of city life. EMBARQ is part of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.[8]
  • Aqueduct, an initiative to measure, map and understand water risks around the globe.[9]
  • The CAIT Climate Data Explorer is a suite of online data and visualizations tools that support the many dimensions of climate policy making.[10]
  • The Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) tracks national progress in promoting environmental democracy in law and practice.[11]
  • Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system.[12]
  • WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities galvanizes action that will help cities grow more sustainably and improve quality of life in developing countries around the world.[13]
  • World Resources Report, is WRI's flagship report.[14] For example, the latest edition of World Resources was titled "Creating a Sustainable Food Future" and addressed the question "How can the world adequately feed more than 9 billion people by 2050 in a manner that advances economic development and reduces pressure on the environment?". The report is produced together with the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme.


  1. ^ a b "World Resources Institute" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "About WRI". World Resources Institute. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Broder, John M. (March 14, 2012). "Climate Change Envoy to Lead Influential Institute". New York Times: Green Blog. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "James Gustave Speth". World Resources Institute. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Mission & Goals". World Resources Institute. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Pogrebin, Robin. "Developer Gives $30 Million to Establish City Planning Center". New York Times: ArtsBeat Blog. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "ACT 2015". World Resources Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Aqueduct initiative official page
  10. ^ CAIT Climate Data Explore official site
  11. ^ Environmental Democracy Index official site
  12. ^ Global Forest Watch official site
  13. ^ WRI Cities official site
  14. ^ World Resources Report official page

External links[edit]