From Commitments to Action
ANNUAL REPORT 2021
As we look back on the past year, one word repeatedly comes to mind: Resilience.
We are in the midst of one of the most challenging times in recent history: a global pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, natural and human-made disasters, and a constant flow of disinformation.
In such a world, a global, independent, science-based organization that uses research and data to solve problems on the ground can make lives better. This is what WRI has been doing for 40 years. We bring people together to confront the world’s most urgent environmental and developmental challenges. Today, we are doing it at a larger scale, in many more places on earth.
Despite these stressful times, our team continues to produce outcomes and deliver impact. Our staff worked behind the scenes to ensure that COP26 in Glasgow delivered in essential ways. In Africa, we are supporting a movement, led by AFR100, to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land. In 2021, we worked with donors to mobilize $20 million in capital to finance locally led restoration projects and enterprises. In Brazil, WRI helped the federal government revise its national safety plan, which pledged to cut traffic fatalities in half. In the U.S., our team worked with businesses and other partners to urge the Biden administration to set an ambitious national climate goal — leading to an emissions reduction target of 50 to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Going forward, we need to sharpen our focus to turn bold commitments into real world action. The science is clearer than ever. To keep global warming within 1.5 degrees C, we must halve emissions this decade, while reducing inequality and restoring nature.
We are making progress, but not nearly fast enough. We know that the path ahead is narrow and hard. This is exactly the challenge WRI embraces: To find and promote practical solutions for system-wide change at scale that ensures people and nature can thrive.
In the following pages, we invite you to explore what this journey looks like through the eyes of our staff. You’ll meet Mariana Oliviera, who comes from a coffee-growing family in Brazil and works to prevent deforestation, and Andika Putraditama, who studies sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia. Our work would not be possible without our remarkable, resilient staff.
This Annual Report is an invitation to explore who we are, why we do what we do and what makes our work so impactful. We hope these pages inspire you.
This report is also a reflection of our gratitude to all of you who have supported WRI, transforming what was a glimmer 40 years ago into a world-class, global organization today.
Together, I believe we can create a more equitable, vibrant and prosperous world for all.
With best regards,
President & CEO
World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute is a global, non-profit organization that conducts research, analyzes data and mobilizes coalitions to address the world’s greatest challenges. We create solutions for people and the planet.
WRI is its people. With more than 1,700 staff around the world, we have teams working on seven programs: Cities, Climate, Energy, Food, Forests, Ocean and Water. We also have four centers of excellence that focus on: Business, Equity, Economics and Finance. We are working to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, while ensuring a just transition and more prosperous world for all.
This Annual Report highlights our system-wide approach. As you meet each featured WRI staff member, you’ll learn how their work connects multiple programs and practices across the institute. In this way, we invite you to experience our work as much more than individual initiatives, but instead as a cohesive effort touching every sector of society.
Welcome to our 2021 Annual Report