Trillium Commends Chipotle Mexican Grill for Signing Fair Food Agreement with Coalition of Immokalee Workers
On October 4th, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farm worker-based human rights group, signed an agreement which publicly commits the restaurant chain to purchase tomatoes solely from growers who abide by CIW’s Fair Food Program (FFP).
Using a penny-per-pound premium, the FFP allows tomato pickers to receive higher wages and better resources to address health and safety concerns. Following a three-year negotiation, Chipotle is the eleventh company to sign onto CIW’s Fair Food Program.
Trillium’s active support of CIW’s mission dates back to 2009 when we approached Chipotle to determine if its mission to serve “Food with Integrity” extended beyond humanely raised meats. In our initial letter, Trillium asked the company to report on policies to reduce farm worker and local community exposures to pesticides in its supply chain. We also inquired if the company had procedures in place to monitor farm worker health and care for farm workers’ medical needs.
As Chipotle began negotiations with CIW in 2009, Trillium focused investor attention to the use of pesticides in the company’s supply chain. In 2010, we successfully withdrew a pesticide use proposal when Chipotle agreed to publish a pesticide use policy and track performance.
Since reaching an agreement on pesticide reporting, Trillium and its investor partners have been in regular dialogue with Chipotle’s management.
Earlier this year, as criticism of the company’s refusal to sign the Fair Food Agreement grew, Trillium continued to urge management to consider the FFP protocols as a way to meaningfully extend its mission to serve “Food with Integrity.”
“In signing the Fair Food Agreement, Chipotle has sent a clear signal to investors and other stakeholders that farm worker issues are critical to responsible sourcing policies. The company’s extension of robust social standards through its tomato supply chain, in our view, addresses potential reputational risks and strengthens Chipotle’s brand over the long term”, said Susan Baker, Trillium’s Manager of Shareholder Advocacy & Corporate Engagement.