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Chipotle touts its GMO-free food, remains silent on sustainability practices

| | October 28, 2015
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Chipotle is getting heat from critics of all stripes. Trial lawyers recently filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Chipotle’s claim that it does not serve GMOs is “deceptive and misleading”. Meantime, socially responsible investors have called upon Chipotle to publish a sustainability report so shareholders can see if its marketing claims are backed up with facts.

As if that’s not enough, Chipotle’s ban on GMOs sparked a media backlash from publications ranging from the Washington Post to Mother Jones. In an editorial, the Chicago Tribune said: “Chipotle has embraced the fear-mongering of some food, environmental and health activists who have turned ‘GMO’ into a dirty word.”

Adam Kanzer, managing director at conscientious investment company Domini Social Investments, which filed a shareholder resolution with Chipotle asking it to report on its sustainability practices, says Chipotle ought to back up its messaging with data: “What percentage of their supply is organic? What are they doing about farmworkers in their supply chain? Does the drought in California pose any risks? What’s their position on the minimum wage?”

In its most recent proxy statement, Chipotle says it made a deliberate decision not to publish a corporate responsibility report, instead devoting its resources to practices that improve sustainability. The company said: “We believe Chipotle is driving more positive change in the nation’s food supply than any other restaurant company.”

Odds are, Chipotle will remain a target for corporate social responsibility campaigners. So long as Chipotle continues to brand itself as superior to its rivals, those rivals are likely to push back.

Read full, original post: Chipotle’s silence on sustainability practices make it a target for CSR advocates

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