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Ethics and Social Responsibility, Assessment Example

Pages: 2

Words: 546

Assessment

Chipotle can be termed a socially responsible organization to the extent that its menu is largely derived from a commitment to the sustainable food movement and therefore fresh ingredients and local farming. In other words, in so far as Chipotle underscores its opposition to factory farming and industrialized food production with the choice of ingredients it uses in its menus, this can be said to be an ethical stance which is consistent with the organization’s personally held principles. These ethically held principles are socially responsible since the commitment to healthier food choices also appears to be a commitment to the well-being of society as a whole. Nevertheless, Chipotle could be questioned as socially responsible from a marketing perspective, according to which the company is merely trying to dominate the market on so-called “fast casual” foods. In other words, Chipotle’s products may not be a reflection of social commitments, but of an attempt to capitalize on a particular niche market and the demands of a certain segment of the consuming public.

Those who argue against Chipotle’s social responsibility based on the idea that their menu contains high-fat, high-calorie items are basing their judgment that social responsibility should be measured entirely in these terms. Accordingly, it is a reflection of the personally held ethical principles of these particular critics. In contrast, if another analyst would evaluate social responsibility in terms of the opposition to factory farming and the promotion of sustainable food production, then Chipotle would appear to satisfy these requirements. In this regard, the question of Chipotle’s responsibility is dependent upon the axiology which informs our measurements of social responsibility. For those who believe obesity is the fundamental issue of American food culture, then Chipotle would fail to meet these standards. For those who emphasize local farming, unethical treatment of animals through factory farming, etc., Chipotle could be said to meet these standards of social responsibility.

Chipotle’s target market are consumers who place a value on quality food products, who are concerned about factory farming, and who have made a greater ethical commitment to an ecologically healthy lifestyle. Chipotle’s success as a restaurant chain is therefore entirely based upon the extent to which it can maintain this distinctness in its company vision. In this regard, Chipotle on the one hand can maintain a status quo approach, by continuing to emphasize fresh ingredients, support local farming and oppose industrial food production. At the same time, Chipotle can position itself at the forefront of the ecologically conscious food movement by radicalizing some of its positions. For example, Chipotle could actively engage socially with environmental groups, so as to promote environmental causes. This partnership would further cement the image of Chipotle as a socially conscious business in the mind’s eye of the consumer. Furthermore, Chipotle could even more vividly and directly support local farming. For example, a share of profits from sales could be used to establish a fund for local farmers. In addition, Chipotle could actively engage with other businesses in its community who also share a common ethical stance towards a healthy lifestyle and local farming. These steps would further embellish Chipotle’s product image as a socially conscious food choice, underscoring the sincerity of its ethical commitments to the public, while also helping the greater community at the same time.

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