Oct 26, 2021 - Economy

Sweetgreen weighs climate risk in IPO filing

Illustration of a briefcase with stickers on it.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Eco-conscious salad chain Sweetgreen's new filing with regulators to go public offers a window onto how companies must grapple with climate risks to the food system.

Driving the news: Sweetgreen's paperwork, like other pre-IPO filings, lists potential headwinds. Climate change is among them.

  • "Changes in commodity and other operating costs, particularly due to climate change, could adversely affect our results of operations."
  • Costs for items like kale and avocados "will likely continue to increase over time if global warming trends continue," and may grow more volatile due to climate change and specific risks like more severe storms and wildfires.

Threat level: The company can only partially control this through strategies like hedging, the filing adds, calling these risks among the potential barriers to profits.

The big picture: It's hardly the first IPO filing to lay out climate risks. For instance, Beyond Meat had similar phrasing about its key ingredients.

  • It shows the growing importance of global warming as both a business risk and an opportunity.
  • Sweetgreen's filing talks up the company as a climate solution, noting its menu is "30% less carbon intensive than the average U.S. diet."
  • It also cites a commitment to being "carbon neutral" by 2027.
  • The company’s list of reasons that it's well-poised says consumers are “increasingly aware” of the environmental and health benefits of a “plant-forward” diet.

Go deeper: Sweetgreen acquires automated kitchen startup Spyce

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