NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — Internal promotions and purchases of organic ingredients were two highlights in a 2021 sustainability report released April 22 by Chipotle Mexican Grill. The report was divided into three categories: people, food and animals, and the environment.

The report showed 90% of restaurant management roles came from internal promotions, and on average six employees were promoted per restaurant for a total of 19,000 promotions. An education program to qualifying US employees allows them to earn a debt-free degree in over 100 disciplines at 10 universities. About 5,000 employees took advantage of the program in 2021.

The rate of employee turnover increased in 2021, including 194% for hourly workers, up from 141% in 2020, 43% for salaried workers, up from 31%, 21% for field managers, up from 16%, and 21% for staff employees, up from 12%. Turnover looked to be an industrywide issue in foodservice this year. About 50% of operators in the full-service, quick-service and fast-casual segments expected recruiting and retaining employees to be their top challenge in 2022, according to a report released in February by the National Restaurant Association.

Newport Beach-based Chipotle in 2021 purchased more than 40.7 million lbs of organic and transitional ingredients and more than 35.7 million lbs of local produce, which Chipotle defines as an ingredient grown within 350 miles from one of its distribution centers. The amount of local produce purchased was an increase of 4.7 million lbs from 2020. Chipotle in 2021 purchased 380 million lbs of produce in total. Chipotle partnered with growers to convert more than 110 acres of conventional farmland to organic farmland in 2021. The goal is to go over 400 acres by 2025.

Environmentally, Chipotle established and maintained composting programs at 31% of all restaurants. The amount of renewable energy sourced by the restaurant chain increased to 23.6% from 22%.