Green Plant of the Year 2016: Clif Bar’s Green Bakery Supports Corporate Ideals

Clif Bar’s products focus on healthy snacking. Its new bakery focuses on the health and well-being of workers, the community and Mother Nature.

By Kevin T. Higgins, Managing Editor

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Based on benchmarking data from the U.S. Green Building Council, Twin Fall’s energy consumption per unit of production is 21 percent below the norm. Water use is 37 percent less, and refrigerant emissions are 40 percent lower.

Silver certification under the council’s LEED program was the goal when the project was announced, but that evolved to the highest level possible. Originally attuned to office and commercial buildings, LEED now takes greater account of the ongoing resource consumption in manufacturing, although building aesthetics and lifestyle behavior also get their due.

To create a park-like environment, more than 5,700 shrubs and 572 trees have been planted on the once-barren site, and plans call for walking and bicycling trails. The company provides a significant subsidy to employees who purchase a hybrid, biodiesel or electric car, an incentive that should help fill parking spaces reserved for those types of vehicles.

Clif Bar’s biggest sellers are being produced on Twin Falls’ two production lines. With sales growing, a third line is expected to be commissioned by spring 2017. But copackers play a key role in supply chain operations, and that network, along with other suppliers, accounts for a major part of Clif Bar’s carbon footprint.

At a September summit attended by 120 suppliers, company leaders updated those suppliers on the 50/50 program: a goal of 50 plants deriving 50 percent of their electric needs from solar or renewable energy credits by 2020. “We’re focusing on electricity because it is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases,” Hammond says, noting four suppliers already have attained the goal.

A solar array at the firm’s headquarters in Emeryville, Calif., meets most of the building’s electricity and hot water demand. Solar is under consideration in Twin Falls, although initially the company is buying credits from an Idaho wind farm to match its electric consumption.

Enhancing workers’ connection with the natural world outside the plant is another continuous improvement focus. In packaging and production areas where windows weren’t practical, a projection system to display nature scenes is under consideration to see if it increases workers’ sense of well being.

“Hospitals are starting to incorporate biophilic design because research suggests it helps people heal faster,” Hammond notes. “Manufacturing has great potential to improve people’s lives and reduce stress. This is a great opportunity to improve all five aspects of our bottom line.”

Product out the door is Job 1 in manufacturing, but the Twin Falls bakery is testament to Clif Bar’s determination to be more than a company that measures success by sales volume alone.

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  • The first bottom line is the Planet, then the community, then the people, then the brand and then the sustainability of the business! How can we import this "business philosophy" into our on 'life philosophy" and then graft it into our city, state and federal government's model. Congrats on winning The Green Plant of the Year in 2016 and for setting the Bar of Excellence in manufacturing for others to follow. Wp

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