Since 2002, when Clif Bar made the strategic decision to source product ingredients from organic farms, the company has achieved impressive growth even in the face of a lingering recession. Today, the company has national retail distribution in all 50 states for approximately 100 product offerings and has achieved international expansion into Canada and England. This combination of product design focus on organics plus the company’s sales growth means Clif Bar now uses 40 million pounds of organic ingredients a year – representing 70+% of total product ingredients.
Clif Bar’s management has moved their company to a leadership position in the adoption of sustainability and social responsibility. That is, the basis for the company’s continued financial success and business growth includes sustainability. Clif Bar now manages operations around achieving measurable results for the following five “aspirations” or “performance expectations:”
- the communities in which they do business
- their brand
- their business.
In the following video interview, Kevin Cleary, President of Clif Bar, credits this inclusive strategic vision plus its performance achievement for creating a level of authenticity with consumers that is a competitive advantage for Clif Bar in the increasingly crowded health food market segment. This same authenticity also manifests in a competitive advantage for Clif Bar in the recruitment and retention of talented and motivated work associates. At a time when many CFOs and CEOs are questioning how to link “doing right” with positive impact on their company’s bottom line, this interview provides illuminating evidence that there is a link between market place competitive advantage and the adoption of sustainable business practices.