Monday, February 2, 2015

Chipotle: Unwrapped

Corporate social responsibility is something that I hadn’t really thought much about until an assignment that I had last week. We were asked to choose a company and design a basic CSR plan.

My group chose Chipotle. As a college student, I go to Chipotle all the time. It’s quick, cheap and delicious. I thought of choosing to do Chipotle before looking up its current CSR program. I was inspired by how important tin foil is to its branding image. The famous, simple, foil wrapped burrito is seen on most of Chipotle’s advertisements, coupons and merchandise.

It turns out that Chipotle does not recycle its tin foil. So we designed a plan that included foil only recycling bins in the restaurants. Long story short, it got me thinking about how much a CSR initiative can affect the way people look at a company.

Designing a CSR plan around a part of the brand that is very noticeable and visual can really help gain popularity around its plan. By making it something that is easily relatable, people will care more and it will help the company’s reputation. While the CSR plan is always helpful to society and the environment, part of its importance with relation to public relations is the image that it is going to give the company.

Promoting a CSR plan can be the most beneficial part. While it is great to profit from the cause, it is important for companies to take advantage of the good reputation that can be gained from positive corporate responsibility.

In this article, Forbes analyzes the companies with the best CSR reputations. The top four companies that were mentioned were Microsoft, Disney, Google and BMW. After reading about this, I realized that these companies are very vocal about the corporate social responsibility. Other companies aren’t very vocal, even if their CSR plans might be better than the companies mentioned in the article.

Chipotle prides itself on its current CSR plan which focuses on local, fresh ingredients and recycled materials in its paper burrito bowls and tops. I had never heard anything about this, and I would not have assumed it based on the reputation that Chipotle has. Perhaps if the company promoted its CSR in a better way, then it would have a better reputation. A little bragging could do a lot of companies a solid favor.

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