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  • Overview

    Property developers, Igloo Regeneration, recently announced that they would not reimburse their 30-strong staff for food expenses that contained meat.

    We can feel your eyebrows rising already.

    That’s right, if you work for Igloo, you cannot expense any meal that contains meat.  That includes:-

    • corporate entertaining;
    • workshops; and 
    • catering.

     

    If your meal is vegetarian, however, then the meal will be reimbursed.

    Kate Marfleet, Head of Igloo’s Values Team explained that the decision to go vegetarian was agreed through a company vote as everyone had to be on board to make it work.  The message is that their employees have to be sensible and need not starve but if you fancied a bacon sandwich then that would not be paid for.

    The underlying reason is quite noble, namely to reduce their environmental impact which is a big topic at the moment with an estimated 24% of global emissions coming from food, 58% of which come from animal products.  

    Whilst the decision could be considered controversial and has been criticised by the TUC for leaving employees out of pocket for choosing to eat meat, the firm is not the first to ban meaty expenses.  

    WeWork, the real estate company that rents and manages office space announced in 2018 that their 6,000 staff could not seek reimbursement for meals containing poultry, pork or red meat. Whilst this did not leave much room for food expenses, they cited research that indicates that going vegetarian is the biggest effect an individual can have to reduce personal environmental impact.  According to the research, WeWork will save, over the course of five years (to 2023):-

    • 16.6 million gallons of water;
    • 445.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions; and
    • 15,507,103 animals.

     

    An interesting approach, but not one that will work for everyone.  We do hope that their policy is strong enough to deal with all manner of situations that may arise for the employees' working lives.  We also wonder how long it will be before someone argues that eating meat is a philosophical belief.  

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