Bloomberg News Covers Clean Yield's Chipotle Shareholder Proposal

Chipotle restaurant

Bloomberg News posted an article on March 17, 2016 covering Clean Yield’s shareholder proposal at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) calling on the company to study the feasibility of adding sustainability performance into its executive pay evaluation criteria.

Food With Integrity—the buy-local burrito chain’s commitment to fresh produce and “responsibly raised” meats—has been called into question in the wake of multiple food-borne illness outbreaks.

Co-CEO Steve Ells said in an investor presentation in New York on March 16 that the company remains “fully committed” to the program, citing a recently announced $10-million fund to help local suppliers cover the costs of new food safety standards.

“They think that their Food With Integrity program is enough,” Shelley Alpern, director of social research and advocacy at Clean Yield, said in an interview. “What we’re saying is: it’s been rolled out with a kind of…‘trust us to implement this without any transparency’ attitude. That’s just not cutting it.”

The proposal is one of three of its kind that Clean Yield this year. We also filed at Discovery Communications and Walgreens Boots Alliance. (The Walgreens proposal was presented at the company’s January shareholder meeting but failed to pass.)
Both Discovery and Chipotle have a history of paying their chief executives excessively. Both made the “100 Most Overpaid CEOs” list for 2015 and 2014, an annual study prepared by As You Sow Foundation, and both are estimated by to have outrageously high CEO-to-worker pay ratios (Discovery’s at 1,951:1 and Chipotle at 1,522:1).
Neither company has basic sustainability governance mechanisms in place, such as assigning sustainability oversight to a board committee or preparing an annual sustainability report.
To read the full case for the Chipotle proposal, read Clean Yield’s letter to shareholders here.