Chipotle Scores Sustainable Hit with Willie Nelson’s Coldplay Cover


Chipotle Mexican Grill is going Hollywood to shed light on the importance of a sustainable food eco-system as seen in the above video, “Back to the Start.”

Featuring a moving cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist by music legend Willie Nelson, the two-minute stop-motion animated short follows a farmer who turns his family business into an industrial animal factory, reaping disastrous results before coming to his senses and choosing a more sustainable future. 

The film by Irish animator Johnny Kelly and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle in their first foray into branded entertainment, and will be shown in 5,700 theaters across the United States starting in September.

The video also supports the brand’s increased commitment to promoting sustainability via a new foundation and a first-of-its-kind event.[more]

“We produced this film to help illustrate the choices people face in deciding what to eat, and hope that it will encourage people to choose food that is raised with respect for the land, the animals, and the farmers that produce it,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder (whose story is told in a different type of animation, above).

The Denver-based restaurant chain has made the song available on iTunes for 99 cents, with 60 cents of that going to the just-launched Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which supports family farms, and is sponsoring the first Cultivate sustainable food festival, a free event (taking place Oct. 1st in Chicago) that will bring together “food, farmers, chefs, thought leaders, and musicians.”

To date, Chipotle has contributed more than $2 million to initiatives that support sustainable agriculture, family farming and culinary education including: The Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, the Lunch Box, the Nature Conservancy and Veggie U, Niman Scholarship, Culinary Institute of America, The Land Institute, and

“Delicious, affordable food can be produced without exploiting the farmers, the animals or the environment. Chipotle has proven this to be true, but Chipotle is only one small part of the solution. Our goal now should be to have all food produced as sustainably as possible,” says Ells.

For more on the “Back to the Start” project, check out the “making of” video below: