While most CEOs use their prepared remarks on earnings calls to go over the high points of the quarter or year, Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells Tuesday spent the bulk of his talking about pigs.
In reporting fourth-quarter and full-year results, Ells laid out how the company had stopped selling carnitas in about a third of its locations last month after discovering that one of its suppliers wasn’t living up to the Mexican food chain’s animal welfare standards.
The company could have replaced the pigs with conventionally raised ones, but that would have meant the animals would likely have had no access to the outdoors or bedding, and would typically be given antibiotics to stimulate growth. “These conventional practices are unacceptable to us and we refuse to serve pork from animals raised in that manner,” he said.
Removing and disposing of the pork from its supply chain through donations and selling it at loss will cost about $2 million.