Clif Bar & Company produces organic foods and drinks, with a focus on consumers who lead an active lifestyle. Clif Bar's products include CLIF bars, LUNA bars, and CLIF Kid.
The idea for the company came after Gary Erickson was inspired to create better energy bars following a 175-mile bicycle ride. Since being founded in 1992 with just a handful of employees, the family- and employee-owned company now has nearly 400 employees, sells its products in 15 countries and has enjoyed a 20 percent compounded annual growth rate over the past 10 years, with revenues topping $150 million only a few years ago.
As a company focused on sustainability, Clif Bar has gone beyond a focus on the typical bottom line - increasing profits - to include five “bottom lines” Clif Bar calls its “Five Aspirations.” And while one of them is ensuring that the company continues to grow, other goals include support for the environment, communities, and employees. All of these help steer the company’s decisions.
At the same time, as the company website says, “we choose the word ‘aspiration’ in recognition that we’re on a journey and can always do more in each of these areas.” That being said, the company has done a great amount so far, especially when it comes to the products it sells.
Since 2003, Clif Bar has used 425 million pounds of organic ingredients, keeping more than 6 million pounds of pesticides off of agricultural land. All of Clif Bar’s products include organic ingredients and are free of partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Clif Bar also operates out of a LEED Platinum-certified headquarters, including solar panels which provide 70 percent of the energy needed for hot water, sustainably sourced wood, and four atrium gardens. Employees also receive benefits if they bike or carpool to work, as well as financial support if they decide to buy a hybrid or biodiesel-powered car. The company is climate-neutral and supports numerous environmental organizations, including ASBC organizational member 1% For The Planet.
In addition, the company includes an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. The company’s employees own a 20% stake in the company, while Erickson, along with his wife and co-founder Kit Crawford, own the other 80%. With benefits like free fitness classes, discounted meals in the cafeteria, and the option for six-week sabbaticals every seven years, it’s little wonder Clif Bar was named one of Outside magazine’s best places to work.
This recognition that sustainability means more than just “going green” meant that Clif Bar was a natural fit to join ASBC. Since becoming a business member, Clif Bar has supported several of our campaigns, including toxic chemicals reform, GMO labeling, synthetic pesticide reduction, workplace benefits, climate change, renewable energy, and clean water. Clif Bar's efforts have included adding its name to campaigns or letters, as well as working with ASBC on relevant op-eds.
As Dean Mayer, Clif Bar’s Communications Manager, explained, “We adhere to business principles that support a sustainable economy, the planet and social justice. We believe business can and should play an important role in helping society achieve those goals.” Choosing to work on issues that not only affect Clif Bar's business but also fit perfectly with its values is what sets Clif Bar above so many other companies today.