WeWork’s Decision to Go Meatless Carries Risks, Rewards

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In a new radio interview, Michigan Ross Professor Cindy Schipani analyzes the pluses and minuses of the company’s move.

Vegan protein sources

Cindy Schipani

WeWork, an international company specializing in coworking spaces and workplace design, recently made news in announcing it was going meat-free — no longer serving meat at company events and not reimbursing employees for meat in company-paid meals.

Michigan Ross Professor Cindy Schipani spoke about the decision in a recent interview with CKNW radio, a global news outlet based in Vancouver. Schipani noted that any employer has the legal right to decide what it serves at its events and to set its own reimbursement policy.

Nevertheless, she said, “I do worry about the workforce and how they might feel about this. Many employees are going to feel it’s unfair.”

She added that with the rollout of a policy like this it is critical to get employee buy-in, making sure the company gives advance notice of the change and explains the goal of improving sustainability.

Publicity over the change could work both for and against the company, Schipani said. “If you’re not working for the company but you understand that they care about the environment and these issues, it may very well be a positive feature,” she said. Schipani added, however, that some clients “may feel that this is too dictatorial on the part of management and feel that they don’t want to have anything to do with a company like this. I think it absolutely cuts both ways.”

Cindy Schipani is the Merwin H. Waterman Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Business Law at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

Media contact: MichiganRossPR@umich.edu