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Sue Hearn
Public Relations Director
510-596-6391

Mon, April 04 2011 - Clif Bar & Company Celebrates Decade of Sustainability Progress

EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 4, 2011 — Ten years ago this April, struggling under a mountain of debt after deciding to remain independent, Clif Bar & Company made a commitment to sustainability.  At a point when some predicted Clif Bar & Company would disappear in six months, the company proved that going green could get them out of the red.

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.”

Enter Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar & Company’s staff ecologist, and now Director of Environmental Stewardship. 

“The foundation of our journey toward sustainability was our commitment to organic food and farming,” said Hammond. “Agriculture has one of the biggest environmental impacts on the planet, profoundly affecting water, wildlife, climate and people’s health on a daily basis.”

First Energy Bar with Organic Ingredients

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. 

Organic farming methods are better for people and the planet. 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. Eating food grown without pesticides is a key recommendation in the President’s Report on Cancer released last year.

In 2010 alone, Clif Bar & Company purchased more than 40 million pounds of organic ingredients – a 25 percent jump over 2009.  That increase outpaces the growth in overall organic food sales by a ratio of 5-to-1.1

Going Green Like Greensburg

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.

In 2010, the company helped build the Greensburg Wind Farm project, enabling a Kansas community to rebuild green following a devastating tornado.  The Greensburg Wind Farm is now delivering electricity to the regional grid in Kansas and surrounding states.  It was recently named “Wind Project of the Year” by RenewableEnergyWorld.com, a leading energy publication, for its community benefits and unique financing model.

Looking Forward to Solar

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 the largest “smart” solar array in North America on the roof of its headquarters and parking structure. “Smart” solar array represents an emerging trend in solar technology aimed at optimizing output and reducing 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.”

Clif Bar & Company continues to drive toward progress in the four key pillars of its eco-vision:  sustainable food and agriculture, climate and energy, zero waste business practices, and natural resource conservation.  The company timeline marks Clif’s progress and highlights sustainability milestones over the past two decades. To learn more about small or big steps individuals can take to help make the planet a little greener, please visit http://www.clifbar.com/soul/get_involved/.

About Clif Bar & Company

Clif Bar & Company is a leading maker of nutritious, organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® BAR energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®.  Focused on sports nutrition and healthy snacks, the employee and family-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet. For more information on Clif Bar & Company, please visit www.clifbar.com, check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clifbar and follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/clifbar

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. Forbes.com

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1. Organic food sales up 5.1% in 2009 – Organic Trade Association