Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Meet Clif Bar & Company’s In-House Ecologist
Leaders In Sustainability is an exclusive series of interviews with those at the fore of the sustainability movement, both in the corporate and non-profit sectors.
What sort of company would appoint an ecologist to its corporate team? Alternative Channel recently caught up with Elysa Hammond, resident ecologist and environmental visionary at Clif Bar & Company. Join us as Elysa offers a glimpse of what it's like to be inside a company acutely concerned with all things ecological.
We began what we call our Journey Towards Sustainability in 2001 with the sourcing of organic ingredients and the launch of an employee education program to help people understanding sustainability. Challenging ourselves to reduce our environmental impact in everything we do—from the field to the final product—we have expanded our program to focus on five key areas: organic food and agriculture; packaging; shipping and transportation; climate action; and sustainability partnerships. By coordinating our efforts around these specific areas we have not only been able to significantly reduce Clif Bar & Company’s impact on the environment we have also created a structure that provides us with a continual source of new opportunities for improvement.
Image at left: Elysa Hammond with daughter Amy and dog Nikki.
What partnerships have you created to enhance your role as a leader in sustainability, with non-profit organizations or government?
Since its inception, Clif Bar & Company has partnered with a wide range of non-profit organizations that provide essential funding to projects that protect and conserve wild places; promote people’s health and people-powered sports; support solutions to climate change and work to create more sustainable food systems. These partner organizations have been invaluable guides on our Journey Towards Sustainability and have allowed us to create innovative and inspiring programs for our consumers. Among others, these partnerships include the Breast Cancer Fund, the Organic Farming Research Foundation and Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America.
What influences have brought about this environmental stewardship imperative? Does the pressure come first from clients and outside constituencies, or more from internal sources, such as employees, executives and investors?
Image at right: Clif Bar & Company's signature and best-selling product line.
How does Clif Bar cultivate a corporate culture centered on environmental stewardship and community engagement? Is it a challenge to get ‘buy-in’ at all levels of the company?
Because we measure Clif Bar & Company’s performance with Five Bottom Lines, the Company’s environmental stewardship and its community initiatives are integrated into every area of the business and are weighted with equal importance to traditional business metrics. As a decision-making framework this model not only serves as inspiring platform for discussion and education amongst employees, it also empowers people to explore, develop and launch innovative ideas that are in tune with the Company’s priorities.
What motivates you personally to do what you do? Are there other things you do in your life to reduce your impact on the environment, beyond your role at Clif Bar?
Image above: Clif Bar & Company's bustling recycling center (more action than the shipping/receiving department).
To learn more about Clif Bar & Company, its products, corporate culture or environmental stewardship, feel free to visit the company's website.