Operationalize Sustainability for Clif Bar & Company

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Clif Bar & Company is a family and employee owned American company that consist of the CLIF BAR, CLIF Kid and LUNA brands which produce foods and drinks made with nutritious and organic ingredients. The company was founded in 1992 and is owned by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford who are married to each other. Clif Bar & Company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and the planet and believes in building a healthy and resilient company.

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By doing so, it enables them to invest in the long term, be a catalyst for change, and do more for the world.

On a map, the ‘red roads’ are the busy roads, full of noise, vehicles and exhaust. On the hand, ‘white roads’ are the smaller, less travelled roads full of beauty and great adventure. Clif is a company that has chosen to travel on the white roads. One specific example is when founder Gary Erickson turned down an offer of $120 million to sell his business in 2000. He understood that it was imperative for Clif to stay private in order to grow naturally and to sustain itself over time – purpose guiding profit and patience over greed. “Companies on the leading edge of sustainability strategy will be more likely to succeed in this uncertain world going forward” (Farver, p. 133, 2013). Clif Bar & Company is an example of such a company as it works on reducing their ecological footprint in everything they do.

Neither Erickson nor Crawford care to talk about Clif Bar & Company’s revenue publicly, but the company is estimated to have had a growth rate of more than 20 percent in recent years, with over $700 million in 2016 revenues (Scott, 2017). According to its most recent annual report, the company has a 17% 10-year compounded annual growth rate and holds 31% of the market share in the Health & Lifestyle Bar category (Clif Bar & Company, 2018).



According to their company website, Clif Bar & Company is a business with “a different kind of bottom line.” The company is guided by their values, which Clif Bar & Company refer to as their Five Aspirations and it is clear that there is a definitive presence for sustainability within the organization. Farver (2013) emphasizes that “Mainstreaming sustainability throughout a company is simply good business” (p. 5). Clif Bar & Company realizes that running a company based on their Five Aspirations – ‘Sustaining Our Business, Our Brands, Our People, Our Community, and the Planet’ – is a challenging way to do business. (Clif Bar & Company, 2018). Clif Bar & Company is committed to this business model means balancing their investments for the long term,

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