Chipotle's ethical chicken goals delayed by supply disruption

Chipotle has been forced to backtrack on a commitment to ethical chicken due to problems with the supply chain.

The restaurant company had planned to source entirely humanely-raised chicken in the US by the end of 2021 but it could not hit the target “without interrupting the business”.

Laurie Schalow, chief of corporate affairs and food safety officer at Chipotle, said they would meet this goal by the end of 2022 instead.

“Since the transition to humane certification for our chicken requires changes to our existing suppliers, we were unable to take this step in 2021 without interrupting the business. We feel confident that 100% of our US chicken will be American Humane Certified by the end of 2022,” she said.

Last year, roughly 40% of the 86,000 tonnes Chipotle purchased were American Humane Certified, which covers improved breeding, more space for birds, and better living conditions.

Concerning the 2021 target Jack Hartung, chief financial officer at Chipotle, said in an earnings call in April last year: “We think we're well prepared from [a] supply chain standpoint.” He went on to say that supply chain was the “wild card” that needed to be watched closely.

Earlier this year Chipotle announced its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals would be tied to executive compensation.

Schalow said: “Chipotle's ESG goals are designed to motivate our executive leadership team to make responsible business decisions that cultivate a better world. As a company with over 3,000 restaurants and nearly 100,000 employees, we have a responsibility to transparently share our progress and drive positive change.”

The ESG agenda included purchasing at least 57m lbs of organic, transitional and/or locally grown ingredients, up from 55m lbs in 2021, and cutting scope one and two greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5%.

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