All staff expenses must now be vegetarian at UK property firm

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Staff at Igloo Regeneration were overall quite supportive of the vegetarian-only expenses decision. (Getty)

Employees at Manchester-based property development firm Igloo Regeneration will no longer be reimbursed for meals that contain meat following the introduction of a vegetarian-only expense policy.

The policy, which also applies to corporate entertaining and workshop catering, was introduced by the firm in 2019 in order to reduce its environmental impact.

Igloo is the UK’s “leading responsible real estate business,” and its internal policies should reflect that, Igloo Regeneration director John Long told the BBC.

“We're not checking the bins,” Long said. “The important thing is that we want to treat everyone as a grown-up. A lot of people thought it was challenging when we first talked about it. We knew it could be controversial internally.”

The company considered introducing a vegan policy, but employees deemed it to be “too restrictive,” according to Kate Marfleet, who leads Igloo Regeneration’s values team.

While some staff had reservations, they were overall quite supportive of the vegetarian decision, said Marfleet.

“It certainly sparked a lot of internal conversation about food and particularly as a younger person, it's interesting to have conversations with our older colleagues who say they are now eating a lot less meat at home as well,” she said.

“I think it's the right thing, it's about encouraging people to make small, positive changes. Eating less meat is one of them.”

Marfleet also noted that the policy is self-policing, and that employees are allowed to make their own decisions based on their dietary requirements.

“If you're gluten-free and there's no suitable vegetarian option, then you can make a choice,” she told the BBC.

The Igloo Regeneration move comes after co-working giant WeWork in 2018 ruled that it would no longer reimburse its own employees for meals containing poultry, pork, and red meat.

The company pointed to research that suggests that going vegetarian is one of the biggest ways in which you can deduce your individual environmental impact.

The WeWork policy applies to its 6,000 global employees, as well as the self-serve food and drink kiosk systems in operation in hundreds of its buildings.

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