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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Chipotle to Establish Environmental Targets


On November 4th Chipotle Mexican Grill announced adoption of the Science Based Targets Initiative to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


In making the announcement, Lori Schalow, Chief of Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer noted, "we are committed to continue improvement and will actively do our part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the Planet".  These sentiments are obligatory for a company catering to a young educated and environmentally conscious clientele.


To achieve the desired targets, the Company will apply smart-energy management systems in restaurants, will purchase renewable energy and install energy-sparing equipment.  The company will review transportation and warehousing in an attempt to reduce emissions especially for a third-party delivery of meals that represents a growing component of Chipotle revenue.


Of some concern is the intention of Chipotle to "explore protein and animal management solutions and promote carbon-reducing practices".  This implies that Chipotle will either directly or through third party consultants and auditors influence production practices through the supply-chain for ingredients incorporated in Chipotle menus.  Initially it is presumed that Chipotle will concentrate on produce, although meat, poultry and eggs incorporated into menu items will come under scrutiny.


Perhaps the most immediate and achievable component of the program will be to reduce waste and packaging.  When services are available, Chipotle will follow closed-loop packaging, reduce waste and divert from landfills. They could also serve smaller portions benefitting both health of their customers and the environment.


The Science Based Targets initiative comports with an earlier Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concentration that will among other components have an influence on executive remuneration.


The question remains as to whether the Chipotle announcement and goals are greenwashing or represent a concerted attempt to conform to norms of environmental compliance. Areas of concern include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water and energy and reducing diversion to landfills. Progress towards the 2030 goal should be documented in regular sustainability reports.

Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane