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Chipotle swaps gas grills for electric in bid to chop emissions in half by 2030

As an early adopter among US restaurant chains, Chipotle has long sourced local and organic produce and responsibly reared meats. Now, in a push to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to a 2019 baseline, Chipotle has announced that it's piloting an all-electric restaurant design. The new restaurants will maximize energy efficiency and use 100% renewable energy from wind and solar power.

Over 100 new outlets opening in 2024 are expected to be all-electric. In addition to switching from gas to electric stovetops, the new design features rooftop solar panels, heat pump water heaters, cactus leather seating and electric vehicle charging stations at select locations. 

On the food side, Chipotle is investing in emission reduction projects for beef and dairy production and supporting regenerative agriculture practices among supply chain partners. The brand is also developing more vegetarian and vegan menu options.

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In a BCG survey conducted across eight countries, 70% of respondents expressed disillusionment with corporate progress on sustainability goals and skepticism regarding businesses' greenwashing practices. To counter that entirely understandable mistrust, brands must demonstrate tangible steps toward specific sustainability goals.

As Chipotle's efforts illustrate, that requires addressing every aspect of a company's operations. Although the restaurant chain initially focused on providing fresh, responsibly-sourced food, it has since committed to greener practices across the board. By rolling out a new, sustainability-focused restaurant design, Chipotle can position itself as an industry leader and strengthen its image as a conscientious and forward-thinking organization.