Resource Proposal #1

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Society YES.

Name of Resource and Citation: Developing Sustainable Food Supply Chains


Smith, B. (2007). Developing Sustainable Food Supply Chains. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 849-861.

Topic for Paper: Chipotle and Ethical Food Sourcing

The paper from the Royal Society Publishing is fairly decent as it was published in February of 2008. It reviews the opportunities available for food businesses to encourage customers to eat healthier food as well as invest in developing more sustainable forms of agriculture. It explains that the important factors in developing more sustainable supply chains depend on the type of chain and the businesses attitude to being responsible socially/environmentally for their supply chain to society. The paper would support Chipotle and it’s efforts to develop a sustainable and ethical supply chain.

I am surprised back in 2008 they were looking at this.  Neat.

It outlines strategies for taking action. These strategies could be further analyzed to create a platform in which food companies could follow to develop sustainable food supply chains. It also explores a multi-stakeholer supply chain approach which addresses the costs/risks and benefits of implementing such a strategy. The stakeholders include NGO’s, government, smallholder farmers, responsible plantations and grower organizations, and manufacturers in importing countries. All in all, it supplies me with options and different routes for companies to create more sustainable food supply chains in order to create value for all stakeholders in the chain.

What are the measures of sustainable food chain?  How do we differentiate what is or isn’t one?  Does this article get to that?

It adds to my paper the idea of consumer value creation from sustainable procurement and from nutritious/healthier products. Although niche markets for more sustainable locally produced food can result in significant social, environmental, and economic benefits, greater gains could be made by improving the sustainability of the mainstream agriculture as well as international supply chains. This source also looks at the factors that are affecting food business investment in sustainable supply chains (these are barriers that the industry needs to overcome). These ideas will help my goal of implementing what Chipotle does in terms of sustainability and ethics in their food supply  and applying it to the mainstream agriculture industry.

  • How reliable is the information? If it comes from a more biased or interested perspective, are there ways to assess its value despite those origins?

You may want to see if anyone else cited it for more resources to see if anyone else cited it.

Resource Proposal #2

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): BIZ (written by Chipotle but published through SEC)

Name of Resource:10-K Chipotle Mexican Grill

Citation: Chipotle Mexican Griill. Form 10-K 2014. Retrieved from SEC EDGAR website http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

Topic for Paper: Chipotle and Ethical Food Sourcing

This 10-K gives a lot of insight into Chipotle’s policies, goals, mission statements, management, business model, and it also highlights the risks they face. In general, this resource will help to get a lot of internal information about Chipotle. However, I want to take a look at this 10-K to see how Chipotle claims to be addressing the recent allegations and investigations about hiring workers without work authorization. I have investigated how Chipotle is a leader in the industry when it comes to being sustainable and ethical with its food, but does it do the same with its employees?

Chipotle and outsiders preach about its brilliant hiring process and promoting process. They highlight how Chipotle’s goal is to promote managers from within, where the low level employees can work their way up to supervisory positions. This reduces turnover and improves employee engagement. There are a lot of social and business (internally from Chipotle) that talk about this. However, I am more interested in the bad side of their hiring policies and their reoccurring problems with mistreating employees. An audit by the Dep of Homeland Security of work documents caused 450 employees to be laid off. They are under an on-going civil and criminal investigations for their compliance with work authorization.

I tried to find official government documents that outlined the report and audit, but I could not find an official report.  There are also several other smaller cases dealing with employee discrimination for disabilities that could be mentioned. However, I am more interested in the systematic problem that Chipotle had in dealing with undocumented workers. I will use this to urge a policy change in Chipotle’s hiring policy in order to make compliance and transparency a priority in this field. Chipotle needs to pay as much attention to its employees as it does to its food. If it is trying to become an ethical and sustainable leader in the fast-casual industry, it needs also needs to do so in its hiring and compliance policies. This adds a very good topic from which I can suggest a policy change for Chipotle. This 10-K will outline Chipotle’s current policies that are clearly not working.  Chipotle acknowledges that their policies aren’t 100% reliable by stating that it may have unauthorized workers without their knowledge. Their current employment verification program is the free E-Verify program. Chipotle states in its 10-K that it does not guarantee that it will identify all applicants who are ineligible for employment. I can refer to Chipotle’s recent decision to stop sourcing from a supplier b/c it did not meet requirements to urge them to do the same with this system that isn’t up to standards.

Good source.  In general you are right.  But, 450 employees were undocumented?  Is that very many?  Was Chipotle encouraging stores to do this?  The reality is that many businesses are happy to “get away” with such hiring because those workers will work for less and don’t have as many protections.

Resource Proposal #3/#4 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Gov

Name of Resource and Citation: Court Cases

#3: Harris Et Al v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. United States District Court, District of Minnesota. 10 Apr. 2014. Gpo.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2015. <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-mnd-0_13-cv-01719/pdf/USCOURTS-mnd-0_13-cv-01719-0.pdf&gt;.

#4: Scott Et Al v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. United States District Court, Southern District of New York. 13 Feb. 2013.  Web. 1 May 2015. <http://www.chipotleclassactionlawsuit.com/res/pdf/first-amended-complaint-stamped-2-13-13.pdf&gt;.

Topic for Paper: Chipotle and Sustainability/Ethics

These sources build off of the idea that Chipotle needs to be ethical not only it its food supply but also in its hiring practices. Chipotle is striving to become a leader in the industry in terms of social responsibility, ethics, and sustainability. It is also striving to ultimately change the standard for the rest of the industry in terms of food sourcing by leading through example and by raising awareness. This is merely in its food supply though. It has been under a lot of scrutiny for its hiring policies and treatment of employees. Both of these cases are main examples of lawsuits (both individual and class action) that have exploited some of Chipotle’s shortcomings. These cases will help point out problems that are present at local stores but also at a company-wide level. They will provide concrete examples from which I will build my reasoning for the need of a policy change in the way the company treats its employees.

Great research find!

Harris vs Chipotle is a lawsuit (that didn’t get a approval for a class action suit) against Chipotle for not paying customers overtime hours due to the current system that they have (Aloha payroll and POS system). There have been a lot of similar lawsuits arguing the same thing, but this was the newest and most relevant case. This is a company-wide issue that is due to both the technology and manager/corporate level pressures to stay in budget in terms of labor hours.

Well, it didn’t get to class action status.  Maybe it was not as big off a deal?

Scott vs Chipotle (which was approved as a class action suit) deals with Chipotle mislabeling apprentices so that instead of getting paid hourly, they were paid at an annual salary even though they were performing tasks that an hourly worker would be required to perform. This labeling that was done by Chipotle violated overtime and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Other cases will also be brought up, but with less detail than the two described above. These cases are evidence to show that Chipotle is not treating their workers with respect. The probe by ICE and the SEC investigating them for employing undocumented workers will also be touched upon, even though there is less detailed information about that. The number of these cases and the attention they got in the news makes me confident that Chipotle is not being socially responsible with its employees, even though it claims to do so internally. The cases are examples of complaints, it shows the point of view of the defendants. It also does provide statements by Chipotle in response to these claims, even though the comments are vague.

It does seem you have a lot of red flags.  Is this as widespread at other fast casual places like PAnera, or even “normal” fast food places?  Also, are Chipotle stores franchises or all company-owned?  If company-owned, it is even more about Chipotle.




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