Subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!


Cultivating a Better Tomorrow at Chipotle with Laurie Schalow

Chipotle revolutionized fast-casual dining with its fresh ingredients, open kitchens and assembly lines, and inventive menu. But Chipotle’s real innovation happens before the food gets into the hands of hungry customers. From the farms where ingredients are grown and raised to the impact of its supply chain on the environment, Chipotle is committed to sourcing and serving “food with integrity.” Its leadership in these areas and others has set a new bar for QSR and fast food, and the food system as a whole. 

This is all embodied in Chipotle’s purpose to cultivate a better world. This purpose is made real through the company’s support of ventures that make responsibly sourced and sustainable food more accessible, an executive compensation structure tied to ESG goals, and support for family farms. One meal might not change the world, but the way Chipotle makes it might. 

To share Chipotle’s purpose journey—including the ups and downs—we welcomed Laurie Schalow, Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer, to Purpose 360. Listen for Laurie’s insights on: 

  • How Chipotle identified and committed to addressing a “disruptive” issue that other organizations weren’t addressing. 
  • Why you should continuously monitor and address the needs of your stakeholders – from your suppliers and partners to your employees and customers. 
  • Why working on projects that haven’t been successful is a powerful way to display your leadership capability and make a mark. 
  • Why having a small sustainability team is not a deterrent to driving impact if you embed purpose responsibility cross-functionally. 

Links & Notes

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Purpose 360
  • (01:03) – Chipotle • Laurie Schalow
  • (03:26) – Meet Laurie
  • (06:49) – Laurie’s Background
  • (08:31) – Team Size
  • (09:03) – Chipotle’s Purpose
  • (12:46) – Bringing ‘Real’ to Life
  • (15:53) – KPIs
  • (17:55) – Food Safety
  • (19:41) – Environmental Factors
  • (20:43) – CEO
  • (23:58) – Challenges
  • (25:54) – Debt-Free Degree Program
  • (26:47) – Retaining Employees
  • (28:51) – Addressing the Pandemic
  • (30:29) – Upcycling & Food Waste
  • (34:05) – Real Food Print
  • (35:12) – Measuring Success
  • (37:10) – Chipotle Cultivate Foundation
  • (39:56) – TV Spot
  • (43:59) – Inspirations
  • (46:44) – Insights
  • (49:24) – Last Thoughts
  • (50:58) – Wrapping Up

Also in :

Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.