BREAKING: WeWork Backtracks On Meat Ban, Serves Pork Soup & Bacon Sandwiches At 2 Singapore Locations
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It’s been a tough few months for co-working behemoth WeWork. After a failed IPO that resulted in a barrage of negative press and shocking headlines, Green Queen can exclusively share that the company, previously valued at US$ 49 billion, is backtracking on its environmental commitment to ban meat- specifically beef, pork and chicken- from all of its locations worldwide. A tip-off from a WeWork Singapore member led to Green Queen pursuing an investigation into allegations that the company is now serving prawn noodle soup made from pork bones and chicken & bacon sandwiches in at least two of its WeWork Singapore locations. The co-working space has also reportedly continued to provide single-use disposable plastic cutlery and tableware to its members, contradicting the passionate zero plastic pledge on the company website.
Editor’s Note: We have reached out to WeWork for comment and we will update the story once they have responded.
In August, WeWork publicly filed its IPO paperwork, which marked the beginning of a maelstrom for the company when potential investors dug into its history of poor financials and misdealings surrounding now-departed CEO Adam Neumann. Since then, the IPO has been shelved with major investor SoftBank taking back control of the company, all while paying Neumann US$1.7 billion to quit as CEO and stay on as a non-executive chair while thousands of employees are laid off.
To add to the pile of bad news, Green Queen can confirm WeWork is now reportedly serving meat and dishing out single-use plastics – a complete reversal from their low waste and plant-based commitments. In 2018, apparently motivated by environmental concerns, WeWork publicly announced a company-wide ban on red meat, poultry and pork – which would prevent such items to be served at company events or reimbursed in expenses. At the same time, the company also detailed a zero-plastic plan that would see single-use plastics replaced by reusable bottles and glasses at all company locations. According to multiple sources, WeWork has now backtracked on its meat ban and fallen short of a #ZeroPlastic “better serving the planet” ethos in at least two locations in Singapore.
Exclusive information obtained by Green Queen from a WeWork member from Singapore’s City House location who requested anonymity found that the office space is hosting a “Prawn Mee Live Station” during today’s “TGIM” event, featuring prawn noodles in pork bone broth. Our source also added that the company’s office had “never really made much of an effort” with its meat-free policy, regularly serving meat and seafood at most catered events.
Upon receiving this information, Green Queen investigated further and spoke to other WeWork users in Singapore, including one in Singapore’s Battery Road location, who confirmed that WeWork regularly serves sandwiches containing chicken and bacon in the members’ pantry, though these are provided for communal consumption by tenants of the co-working space.
While the company ban was not intended to target all animal foods – the ban was targeted at red meat, poultry and pork specifically- our source shared that the office rental company does regularly serve non plant-based snacks from outside vendors, and provides only cow’s milk to its members.
These revelations are a far cry from WeWork’s plan to save an anticipated “16.7 billion gallons of water, 445.1 million pounds of carbon emissions, and over 15 million animals by 2023,” the purported impact of its meat-ban, according to the company-wide email shared by CNN last year, figures that were shared on media outlets throughout the globe.
And it’s more than just the meat-free policy that’s taking a beating. The company is now also breaking their #ZeroPlastic pledge. The same source at Singapore’s Battery Path WeWork location told Green Queen that the company’s signature “TGIM Breakfasts” and “TGIF Snacks” continue to be served on single-use plastic plates, tea bags and other refreshments provided in the pantry are still disposable and individually packed.
If the co-working company hasn’t yet been implicated in enough controversy, this is yet another headline the marketing team at WeWork now has to battle. From overvaluation to facade sustainability commitments, one thing’s for sure, the mighty have fallen and the hype halo has worn off.
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Lead image courtesy of David ‘Dee’ Delgado / Bloomberg.