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11/04/2021

Chipotle Aims to Reduce Its Carbon Emissions 50% by 2030

Brand's multipronged approach drives efficiencies through restaurants, transportation and warehousing, supply chain and waste.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Chipotle sets science-based targets to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has set science-based targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. 

The approved targets have been classified by SBTi as being in line with a long-term global temperature increasing trajectory of 1.5°C. Cross-functional stakeholders and third-party experts are actively developing the path forward for achieving and monitoring the company's science-based targets.

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"We are passionate about Cultivating a Better World and as a company with nearly 3,000 restaurants and approximately 95,000 employees, we have a responsibility to drive meaningful change," said Laurie Schalow, Chief Corporate Affairs & Food Safety Officer. "We are committed to continuous improvement and will actively do our part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the planet."

Sustainability for the Planet

Chipotle is among the brand's touting its sustainable initiatives. Panera Bread's goal is to become climate positive – removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits – by 2050.  According to HT’s 2020 Customer Engagement Technology Survey, few were focused on recycling and environmental sustainability in 2020, but operators cannot and should not forget the importance of the environment to their guests and to the overall future of the hospitality industry. 

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To achieve these targets, Chipotle identified the four most carbon intensive functions of its business to reduce emissions:

  • Restaurants: With a long-term goal of having 6,000 restaurants in North America, the brand is continuing to identify more sustainable design and development. An ongoing pilot program explores scalable construction diversion to reclaim and recycle building materials for use in future remodels and buildouts. Chipotle also aims to reduce emissions through smart Energy Management Systems (EMS) at its restaurants and partner with like-minded tenants to find efficiencies. The brand is also exploring purchasing renewable energy and integrating more efficient restaurant equipment.
  • Transportation and Warehousing: Chipotle will leverage partners and innovation to reduce emissions associated with the transportation and warehousing of its ingredients and products. Additionally, with Chipotle's digital business increasing, the company will identify emissions reduction strategies for third-party and white label delivery.
  • Food Supply Chain: In pursuit of its Food with Integrity ethos, Chipotle will explore protein and animal management solutions and promote carbon-reducing practices for produce and other products within the supply chain.
  • Waste and Packaging: The brand will pursue closed-loop packaging solutions and leverage new market innovations to reduce its end-of-life impact. To further optimize responsible waste management, Chipotle is utilizing data to reduce overall waste, increase landfill diversion programs, and enhance food waste solutions.

ESG Goals
Earlier this year, Chipotle announced a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metric that ties a portion of annual incentive executive compensation to ESG goals. The objectives, which are categorized by Food & Animals, People, and the Environment, will hold Chipotle's executive leadership team responsible to make business decisions that Cultivate a Better World. Sharing Chipotle's Scope 3 emissions fulfills one of the brand's goals, which was originally announced for 2025 and later accelerated to 2021. Today, the company announced its 2019 Scope 3 GHG emissions were 1,419,298 MT CO2e.

Real Foodprint
In 2020, Chipotle partnered with HowGood to further its transparency efforts and better understand the carbon footprint associated with its menu items. Chipotle launched Real Foodprint on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com, which compares average values for each of its real ingredients to their conventional counterparts against five key metrics: Less Carbon in the Atmosphere, Gallons of Water Saver, Improved Soil Health, Organic Land Supported, and Antibiotics Avoided. The brand later introduced a cumulative extension of its Real Foodprint feature that allows guests to view the cumulative potential impact of all their Chipotle orders, as compared to orders using conventional ingredients, in one comprehensive dashboard on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com.