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Chipotle Warns Climate Change Could Cut Guacamole From Its Menu
Chipotle has issued the following warning to investors: Extreme weather events “associated with global climate change” might eventually affect the availability of some ingredients that go into burrito toppings, like its signature guacamole.
“In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients, we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients,” the popular chain said in its annual report released last month.
Chipotle continued saying it recognizes the impact its restaurants and its customers would experience if it decided to increase the price of or suspend a menu item, but the factors leading to such decisions are sometimes out of the company's control:
"Our profitability depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in food and supply costs. Like all restaurant companies, we are susceptible to increases in food costs as a result of factors beyond our control ... The cost of many basic foods for humans and animals, including corn, wheat, rice and cooking oils, has increased markedly in some years, resulting in upward pricing pressures on almost all of our raw ingredients including chicken, beef, tortillas and rice, increasing our food costs. Food prices for a number of our key ingredients escalated markedly at various points during 2013 and we expect that there will be additional pricing pressures on some of those ingredients, including avocados, beef, dairy and chicken during 2014."
To put things in perspective, the avocado operation at Chipotle, for instance, is gargantuan.
On average, the company mashes up 97,000 pounds of avocado every day to make its "guac"—which adds up to nearly 40 million pounds of avocados on an annual basis, according to the company's website.
While the avocado industry is relatively stable for the time being, scientists anticipating drier conditions due to climate change predict California's crops will be severely impacted.
Chipotle cited a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory study, for instance, that predicts hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in the Golden State's avocado output over the next 32 years.
Since Chipotle has a commitment to using local produce grown on farms within 350 miles of a given restaurant, it's likely that California locations are the ones at highest risk of experiencing climate change drought effects.
Moreover, Chipotle, along with companies that share its vision of selecting ingredients best fit for patrons, the environment and farmers, could see their ethical business model collapse under the weight of climate change.
Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.