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Case Studies Chipotle

Helping a Sourcing Leader Broaden its Approach to Sustainability

In 2016, SustainAbility supported Chipotle to conduct its first sustainability materiality assessment to better understand the company’s priority issues.

Chipotle has been working to integrate sustainability into its menu and sourcing of ingredients. The company has shown leadership on local and organic sourcing and has embedded key sustainability values into its core business. To build a robust sustainability strategy and report, it wanted to get a more comprehensive view of its issues and impacts. We worked closely with the team on:

Materiality inputs

Researched trends, engaged internal stakeholders through interviews and a survey, and interviewed external stakeholders including suppliers, investors and NGOs to identify the most relevant environmental, social and economic issues.

Prioritizing issues

Used a customized methodology to assess the issues according to business impact, stakeholder concern and the degree of control that the company had over the issue. Developed a materiality matrix and value chain illustration to communicate the findings.

Strategy recommendations

Based on the analysis of Chipotle’s priority issues and current approach we made recommendations to inform its approach to transparency and engagement as well as guidance on the governance of its sustainability strategy.

The assessment identified Food Safety & Quality, Customer Health and Wellness, Responsible Food Sourcing and Fair Labor practices as the top four most important issues for Chipotle’s business and stakeholders. Chipotle included the results of the assessment in its inaugural sustainability report, published in 2018, and the results of the assessment have informed its reporting content as well as its strategic focus going forward.


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