Clif Bar Celebrates Ten-Year Commitment to Sustainability
Original Source: http://www.sustainablelifemedia.com
Author: Bart King
Original Publication Date: April 5, 2011
April 5, 2011 – Clif Bar & Company is celebrating the 10 -year anniversary of its commitment to sustainability this month. In April 2001, the company was struggling and deeply in debt after deciding to remain solar. Cliff Bar says the decision to “go green” is what got them out of debt at a time when many thought the company would fail.
Starting with a focus on food and agriculture, that environmental commitment grew into a larger business model that moves beyond a triple bottom line to encompass Five Aspirations: Sustaining its Business, its Brands, its People, its Community and the Planet.
In the past 10 years, Clif Bar & Company introduced the first energy bar with organic ingredients (2003), offset its historic carbon footprint (2007), and installed the largest “smart” solar array in North America on its new headquarters (2011). It was also one of the first companies to hire an ecologist ten years ago.
“We hope others can learn from our experience, that bringing sustainability into all parts of the business does not need to be predicated on profitability,” said Gary Erickson, Clif Bar & Company founder and co-CEO. “Even amid tough times, we had a bigger vision for the kind of company we wanted to be and the impact we wanted to have on the world around us.”
In 2003, the company’s flagship product–CLIF BAR–was the first energy bar at retail stores that was USDA certified “Made with Organic.” To date, the company has purchased more than 170 million pounds of organic ingredients, supporting organic farmers across the globe.
“The foundation of our journey toward sustainability was our commitment to organic food and farming,” said Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar & Company’s staff ecologist, and now Director of Environmental Stewardship. “Agriculture has one of the biggest environmental impacts on the planet, profoundly affecting water, wildlife, climate and people’s health on a daily basis.”
By raising crops without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, organic farming conserves biodiversity, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and fights global warming by storing carbon in the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.
In 2010 alone, Clif Bar & Company purchased more than 40 million pounds of organic ingredients–a 25% jump over 2009. That increase outpaces the growth in overall organic food sales by a ratio of 5-to-1.1
Since 2002 Clif Bar & Company has taken big steps to reduce its climate footprint. In partnership with NativeEnergy, a leading offset provider, Clif Bar & Company has helped build new wind farms that supply renewable energy while generating social benefits for communities in need. By 2007 the company had offset its entire historical carbon footprint, dating back to its founding in 1992.
By the middle of this year, Clif Bar & Company expects to generate nearly all of the power for its new headquarters from solar energy. The company is installing what it says is the largest “smart” solar array in North America—optimized to increase output and reduce costs.
“Our vision has always been to do business in a different way,” said Kit Crawford, co-CEO of Clif Bar & Company. “Those initial steps we took a decade ago grew out of our employees’ insatiable community spirit and passion. While we’re not completely there yet, we’re well on our way to doing business in a way that supports long-term sustainability for our business, our brands, our people, our community and the planet.”
Recently Clif Bar & Company was ranked the No. 1 brand in the Forbes Breakaway Brands survey, conducted by Landor Associates using Young & Rubicam’s BrandAsset Valuator database measuring brand momentum from 2006 to 2009.