This Sh*t Isn’t Easy

Throughout the writing of these blog posts it seems that all I have found is restriction after restriction as to what we as consumers can buy. It seems that every company violates human rights or is cruel to animals, and therefore we have to seek out companies that are harder to find, and usually cost a considerable amount more.

 

I don’t write this to be discouraging to my cause, I’m just saying trust me I know how challenging it is to buy fair-trade, especially as a college student.  I definitely put forth an effort to buy it when I can, but I in no way would I say I only buy fair-trade.  Sometimes this is because of a lack of funds, but a lot of times its just because of laziness. It is just easier to buy products that are all in one place and cheaper. This, my friends is the plague that keeps America purchasing the products it does. Convenience.

 

I found some good articles online that help us to find the easiest way to buy fair trade. This article has 10 tips that will help consumers to buy fair-trade. It has tips such as looking for the fair-trade label and try to find the items where you normally shop.

 

http://greenwoman.typepad.com/biggreenpurse/2009/07/top-ten-ways-to-support-fair-trade.html

 

Really the best way to buy fair trade items is to do it when you can in accordance with your budget. There is a ton of information online that will guide you to making responsible decisions, and every little bit helps. So start by maybe changing out one item on your grocery list with a fair-trade substitute.  Any kind of effort could go a long way to making difference.Image

Chipotle: Burritos with Integrity

Often when observing companies and their impact on our planet, we concentrate on the negative. For this post, I thought I’d focus on an example of great corporate social responsibility.  In the food industry, there are many companies that cut corners and try to serve the public the cheapest and easiest way they can. There is a restaurant that serves great food while being very socially responsible on the corporate level. That company is Chipotle, a Mexican Grill.

The first Chipotle was opened in 1993 in Colorado. By 2006 they had become a publicly trades organization. It is a chain that is known for its huge assembly line burritos and tasty tacos.

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                                       (Photo Courtesy of Chipotle.com)

So, What makes Chipotle a great company?

In 1999, the company instituted a policy called “Food With Integrity.” It is their commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers. Their 3-pronged approach is a program that started over 10 years ago and they continue to find out ways to decrease their footprint. Let’s examine the 3 areas of “Food With Integrity.”

Animals:

Chipotle uses naturally raised animals. In 2001, they began to only use pork that came from pigs that are raised outside or in deeply bedded pens, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet.  60% of their beef and dairy comes from naturally raised cattle, and they vow not to rest until that number is 100%.  Their chicken comes from farms that do not use growth hormones and almost all of it is from farms where zero antibiotics are used. They also avoid farms that use food additives.

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CHeck Out the link to see a Video about a Chipotle Supplier! http://ruralsociologywageningen.files.wordpress.com/)

People:

They strive to purchase as much locally grown and raised food as possible, but they promise that every person that comes in contact with Chipotle will be treated with dignity and respect.  In order to ensure that it happens, they several policies in place designed to ensure that the products we use at Chipotle are grown, made, and shipped without exploiting people.

A big goal at Chipotle is to bridge the cultural and linguistic gaps between Chipotle employees. So there is a whole team dedicated to empowering, educating, and training employees to increase internal promotions, cultural sensitivity, and communication skills. They also provide continuing English language education to all employees who request it.

Environment:

Currently, 40% of the beans used by Chipotle are certified organic, and they ensure that those that aren’t are grown as sustainably as possible.

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Photo Courtesy Chipotle.com

In 2010, Chipotle plans to serve at least 50% of at least one produce item from local farms when it is seasonally available (more than 50% and more than one item any time we can). Those vegetables include romaine lettuce, red onions, green bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, and oregano.

In conclusion, Chipotle is a great restaurant with great food, and it also strives to be a positive contribution to society and our planet.  Find your local Chipotle and support a company that is doing great things!