Spotlighting Chipotle

Food Tech Connect, a blog platform for good food innovation, recently released their list of 70 Organizations Growing the Good Food Innovation Movement.  We were happy to see a few large institutions and retailers made the list, for we believe these organizations play an integral role in changing the food system.  While they may receive a lot of criticism, it is important to recognize that effecting change is difficult — and even more so on their scale — and the ripple effect of their work is substantial.  One large institution featured by Food Tech Connect is fast-casual-favorite, Chipotle.  Chipotle is working to change the face of fast food, and the impact is clear.

Chipotle is committed to sourcing high-quality ingredients from farms, not factories, and to preparing them by hand with classic cooking techniques.  They purchase vegetables grown by local farms and meats from pasture-raised animals.  Their simple, fresh food is free of both artificial ingredients and fillers.  In 2013, Chipotle became the first national restaurant chain to disclose the presence of Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs) in their food.  This transparency set a strong precedent for other organizations to do the same and by 2015, Chipotle had switched to all non-GMO ingredients.

These conscious choices not only support the health of Chipotle consumers, but also leave a positive impact on the environment.  In partnering with farms that prioritize the the long term health of their land with nutrient-rich soil, Chipotle reduces the need for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  In addition, their local purchasing means less vehicle emissions from transportation.  Their commitment to purchasing meats from pasture-raised animals results in less reliance on antibiotics.  

To add to Chipotle’s list of best practices, they also established their Cultivate Foundation, which supports initiatives backing sustainable agriculture, family farming, innovation, and culinary education.  The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation has contributed over $2 million to these causes and is actively participating in the effort to make our food system more healthful and sustainable.

Chipotle is a great example of the power of large organizations in changing the food system. When a company of their size makes a change, it causes a positive ripple effect throughout the food system. Well done, Chipotle!   


To B or Not to B? The B Corporation Choice

Food trends come and go quickly, and one that seems to be here to stay is food-related businesses becoming B Corp Certified.  Businesses are certified as B Corps by the nonprofit B Lab for meeting tough standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. To put it into context, a business becoming a B Corp is akin to a farm gaining USDA organic certification. We hope the impact is ultimately just as big.

The nearly 1,000 Certified B Corps, which span across 33 countries and 60 different industries, are redefining success. Their commitment to meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance distinguishes them from other businesses by providing a better way to do business.

Many of these innovative businesses are in the food and beverage industry, which is why this program has piqued the interest of the FWG team.  Here is a list of B Corp Certified food and beverage businesses.  Like all B Corp Certified businesses, those included on the list are assessed in five different areas and then provided with an overall B score.  To become B Corp Certified, the business must achieve at least 80 of the 200 possible points.

The five scoring areas together take a holistic look at a company’s practices:

  1. Environment: This section evaluates a company’s environmental performance through its facilities; materials, resource, and energy use; and emissions.  It also considers methods of transportation and distribution, as well as whether the company’s products or services are designed to solve an environmental issue.       

  2. Workers: The workers portion assesses how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training, and ownership opportunities.  In addition, it evaluates the overall work environment.  

  3. Customers: This section examines if a company’s products and services promote public benefit and if they are targeted toward underprivileged communities.

  4. Community: This portion of the assessment evaluates a company’s involvement in, and support of, the local community.

  5. Governance: This section examines a company’s accountability and transparency in their practices and policies.

We applaud all those that have achieved B Corp certification. They are changing the way we do business and inspiring competitors to follow suit. They are also illustrating that socially and environmentally responsible, accountable, and transparent practices can be a part of a successful business model.  Well done!