Born in 2004 in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, Shake Shack grew up having an environmentally conscious ethos. Its popularity and business success directly supported the Madison Square Park Conservancy and empowered the non-profit to support a sweeping revitalization of the park.  Now, Shake Shack’s global footprint has expanded to include 84 destinations across 10 countries and 45 cities, and has created impact that has far transcended its small home in New York.  Founded by Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s business is marked by “enlightened hospitality” detailed in Meyer’s book, Setting the Table. However, it also demonstrates forward-thinking sustainability efforts, which include innovative store design, recycling initiatives, and carefully selected supplier relationships.  These initiatives are thorough and offer a model for responsibly addressing climate change.
What does climate change have to do with a burger joint?
Burgers, milkshakes, beer… Deconstructing Shake Shack’s menu reveals the company’s deep exposure to agriculture industries highly sensitive to climate change. Its array of Brooklyn Brewery beers require large quantities of water for production , and its Stumptown Coffee offerings are strongly affected by changing temperatures impacting global coffee bean yields.  However, perhaps at the forefront of its concerns, is its reliance on livestock-based ingredients for the bulk of its menu. Not only does livestock demand significant amounts of resources (land, crops, and water), it also causes significant damage to the environment and is responsible for 8% to 18% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.  Cattle is the biggest contributor and disproportionately accounts for 77% of emissions per 59 million tons of protein, compared to pork and poultry, which together account for 10% per 215 million tons. 
So what can Shake Shack do?
As a thought leader in the restaurant industry, Shake Shack’s biggest opportunity to play an active part in climate change is through its selection of supplier relationships. That starts with the menu that it chooses to define. As Shake Shack grows internationally, the company has the power to shape the world’s view of a premium “American diner” by controlling its supply to influence customer demand for menu options. Shake Shack increasingly offers an array of non-beef options , including its ‘Shroom Burger and Chick’n’Shack (debuted January 2016 ). The introduction of such offerings can carefully steer consumer demand to menu items with smaller environmental footprints , especially as Shake Shack expands into geographies where beef does not already have strong demand.
Global Beef Consumption by Country 
Shake Shack’s Non-Beef Entrée Options 
When it comes to the selection of supplier relationships, Shake Shack is extremely thoughtful and partners with companies dedicated to sustainable production practices. For example, Shake Shack’s beer is produced through a partnership with Brooklyn Brewery, which has adopted a range of environmentally-conscious initiatives, including technologies to convert its waste water and chemicals into energy for its factories and a carbon emission offset partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.  Similarly, Shake Shack’s coffee is sourced through Stumptown Coffee, a company with a focus on sustainability and a commitment to sourcing Direct Trade beans.  For its beef and bacon, Shake Shack partners with butchers and ranchers who raise livestock without hormones and antibiotics in a humane and sustainable manner. 
In addition to menu construction and supplier relationships, Shake Shack’s sustainability initiatives extend in an impressive number of other directions. They place a high focus on recycling and commit to sorting through waste post-collection. They use recycle cooking oil in their kitchens, and locally compost their waste. Further, sales of their branded water bottles support clean water non-profits such as 1% for the Planet and Waterkeeper Alliance. 
The breadth of Shake Shack’s environmentally responsible efforts is remarkable, however, does the company have the capacity to do more?
“Setting (and Cleaning) the Table”
Shake Shack is a public voice for best hospitality practices in the restaurant industry, and can expand that voice to include environmental issues too.
- “Setting the Norms” – Shake Shack offers the restaurant industry an enlightened view on supply chain procurement and should consider broadening its environmental impact by documenting its principles, then sharing these with the broader restaurant industry. The growing company can greatly influence and service the food service ecosystem by leading efforts to author and drive higher standards across restaurant supply chains.
- “Setting the Policy” – Since its beginnings, community involvement and partnership has been embedded in Shake Shack’s business philosophy; however, much of this participation has been developed at local levels.  As an increasingly global company, Shake Shack should leverage its international presence as a vehicle to reach legislative bodies and strengthen its voice in policy-setting for agricultural practices and food standards.
Overall, Shake Shack has built a powerful platform to “lead by example” and has the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the restaurant industry’s response to climate change.
Word Count: 800
 “Setting the Table” by Danny Meyer.
 Shack Shack (NYSE: SHAK) 2015 Annual Report.
 https://www.shakeshack.com/stand-for-something-good. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 Brewers Association Water and Wastewater: Treatment /Volume Reduction Manual. https://www.brewersassociation.org/attachments/0001/1517/Sustainability_-_Water_Wastewater.pdf. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/01/coffee-catastrophe-beckons-as-climate-change-threatens-arabica-plant. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 “Livestock sustainability through Diversity” by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). http://www.pnas.org/content/110/52.cover-expansion%20. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 http://www.economist.com/blogs/feastandfamine/2013/12/livestock. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://www.shakeshack.com/food-and-drink/. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://www.shakeshack.com/2016/01/14/flock-this-way-introducing-the-chickn-shack-debuting-at-u-s-shacks-january-14th-2016. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://data.oecd.org/agroutput/meat-consumption.htm. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/22/372488480/sandwich-monday-the-shroom-burger-from-shake-shack. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 http://brooklynbrewery.com/sustainability. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/our-story. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
 https://onepercentfortheplanet.org/2014/07/shake-shack-supports-waterkeep-alliance. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.