It is considered as an umbrella organization for under this organisation are included organisations from many countries, and organises often World and Regional Vegetarian Congresses. These alternate in two-year cycles.
The ruling body from IVU is the International Council, and the members who form it are unpaid volunteers elected by the Member Societies at each World Vegetarian Congress.
Member organizations may be continental groups (EVU, VUNA, NAVS, etc.) or local or other regional vegetarian organizations whose primary purpose is the promotion of vegetarianism and the support of vegetarian living (e.g. EarthSave).
The IVU also encourages regional and national organizations to run vegetarian festivals, such as the 43rd WorldVegFest in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, on 25 October 2015 and the hundreds of currently organized vegetarian festivals on many continents.
- Asian Pacific Vegetarian Union (APVU)
- European Vegetarian Union (founded in 1988)
- Vegetarian Union of North America (preceded by the American Vegetarian Union 1949–1970s and the North American Vegetarian Society 1974–1987)
- South American Vegetarian Union
- Southeast Asian Vegetarian Union
- List of vegetarian festivals
- List of vegetarian organizations
- Vegetarianism by country
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
- Vegetarianism The 17th through 19th centuries Encyclopædia Britannica
- IVU Welt-Vegetarier-Kongress 1908 IVU (German)
- Dia mundial dels veganisme 01/11/2005 Vilaweb (in Catalan)
- Monday 8 UK 8 November 2004 Financial Times
- "IVU World Vegfest in Australia". IVU World VegFest. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- The American Vegetarian Union