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Guest Interview: Clif Bar & Company

We are so excited about all the support we’re receiving for the Greensburg Wind Farm project. Of particular importance are the eight corporate Charter Supporters who have each made a significant purchase of CO2 reductions projected to come from the Greensburg Wind Farm. For the next month, we will feature interviews in our blog with key people at our Charter Supporters, which include: Clif Bar & Company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Stonyfield Farm, Reverb, Brighter Planet, and our non-profit partner Clean Air – Cool Planet.

Our first in the series of guest interviews is with Elysa Hammond, director of environmental stewardship with Clif Bar & Company. Clif Bar partnered with NativeEnergy early on in their sustainability program; in 2002 they began to track and offset the CO2 pollution generated by their business energy use. This includes CO2 emissions generated by the bakeries, business travel (air and vehicle), inter-company shipping (trucking from bakeries to distribution centers), and office energy use. They even went back in time to offset the emissions associated with operations since the start of the company in 1992! All CO2 pollution generated by these four business sectors were offset by their investments in new farmer and Native American-owned wind turbines in partnership with NativeEnergy.

When asked, “Why was it important to Clif Bar to support the Greensburg Wind Farm?” Elysa answered, “The wind project in Greensburg is a powerful example of doing good by people while also doing good for the environment. We feel honored to be part of that.” According to Elysa, Clif Bar’s sustainability program is evolving “from one of ‘reducing impact,’ to one that contributes to the ‘restoration of our natural resources.' We’ve been asking ourselves, ‘How can we be a more restorative company?’ The Greensburg Wind Farm is a symbolic, almost iconic, example of active restoration.”

If you look at the chart above, you’ll see that in 2005 Clif Bar began to move beyond being climate neutral. In that year their purchase of carbon offsets exceeded their CO2 footprint as they began to offset select music and athletic events. In 2007, they purchased additional offsets in an effort to take responsibility for their historical climate footprint dating back to the company’s start in 1992. At the same time, they’ve been taking concrete steps on the home front to reduce their use of fossil fuels, including switching to biodiesel for their fleet of marketing trucks, reducing waste in packaging, and launching a Cool Commute program to help employees buy fuel efficient cars and for commuting.

Elysa is an agricultural ecologist by training and was drawn to working for Clif Bar because of their commitment to understanding and addressing the impacts of their business activity on the environment. She adds, “For companies committed to sustainability, one of the most important roles they can play is to demonstrate leadership on climate change by working together with others to create solutions that directly address their impact – like we are with NativeEnergy.”

To sum up the reason Clif Bar is supporting the Greensburg Wind Farm in Elysa’s own words: “The story of Greensburg is about hope and resiliency. It is inspirational.”

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