Intern, Sustainability, Operations, University of Maryland

Internships Washington, District of Columbia


Position at World Resources Institute

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

Internships at WRI are learning experiences designed for current students, recent graduates, or other candidates who wish to gain knowledge about a specific area of our work. We strive to attract diverse, intellectually-driven candidates who have a passion for sustainability and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all our programs.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. 

Sustainability Initiative Overview

The Sustainability Initiative at WRI seeks to align the Institution’s operations with its mission. Using research and expertise from various WRI programs and centers, we are committed to continually improving WRI's sustainability performance.  Since 1999, the Sustainability Initiative has conducted institution-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventories as part of annual sustainability reporting; and since 2010, the Initiative has helped guide WRI with aggressive carbon reduction goals for 2020.  As part of this effort, the Initiative maintains a portfolio of major collaboration projects, internal pilot projects that support research development, and a rotation of staff engagement campaigns.  These projects cover topics such as zero waste, sustainable commute, circular economy, sustainable purchasing, food, green buildings, and energy conservation.  To learn more about the Sustainability Initiative and its projects, visit

Internship Summary

As the sustainability intern, you will learn about and contribute to the Sustainability Initiative’s supply chain and sustainable purchasing projects and campaigns.  WRI’s GHG emissions from goods and services purchased makes up a majority of its annual inventory.  Since 2010, this category of emissions at WRI has grown from 70% to over 90% of its entire GHG footprint.  Further, WRI set targets to reduce emissions in goods and services purchased by 20% by 2020.  Efforts in this area represent a diverse range of topics, including addressing environmental and social impacts from subgrants, investments, and service contracts to goods such as paper, food, and electronics.  You will support the roll-out of a sustainable purchasing strategy and guideline developed in spring of 2018.  See the Learning Outcomes (below) for details on specific projects. 

Learning Outcomes

The intern will gain experience in the following areas:                                                               

Lead an engagement campaign as part of the Conscious Consumer series, a subset of the sustainable purchasing strategy that aims to bring organizational sustainable purchasing approaches to individual-level actions [60%]

    • Develop goals and a plan for campaign centered on a specific topic of sustainable purchasing (e.g. electronics, investments, paper, etc).
    • Analyze sustainability program data and metrics to shape campaign approach.
    • Facilitate feedback on campaign plan from network of global Sustainability Champions.
    • Develop graphics and communications materials in collaboration with graphics department.
    • Manage event logistics, such as scheduling, space accommodations, food orders, and other related activities.
    • Evaluate campaign through surveying techniques.
    • Prepare report of outcomes from the campaign for management team, including recommendations for future sustainable purchasing policies.

Research and apply relevant literature on organizational behavior and decision-making in sustainable purchasing [30%]

    • Refine and support campaign design with literature review of organizational decision-making, behavior change, sustainable purchasing, and circular economy issues.
    • Develop a working annotated bibliography using Zotero or equivalent citation manager.

Understand and support other Sustainability Initiative projects, including topics discussed in Sustainability Initiative Overview (above) [10%]

    • Meet weekly with Sustainability Core Team, monthly with Sustainability Champions.
    • Support other events, data collection and processing, or project development. 

Internship Qualifications

  • University-sponsored: You must be a current student in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.
  • Excellent research, writing, and analytic skills
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Strong visual thinker and ability to think creatively
  • Flexible and able to adapt quickly
  • Excellent Microsoft Suite (Excel, Word, Power Point) skills
  • Passionate about environmental sustainability

General Internship Requirements

  • Applicants must have personal health insurance coverage.
  • U.S. work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI does not sponsor interns for visas.

Compensation: University Sponsored: This position is dependent on the student receiving compensation or academic credit from their university program. WRI does not offer compensation for this internship.

Duration: This is a full-time, 12 week summer internship with start date options of May 16, June 3, or June 17, 2019, based on the student’s availability and need for the project.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.