True Tale from a Green Business

When Elysa Hammond joined the staff of Clif Bar in the summer of 2000, she assumed the title of “corporate ecologist” and took on the task of improving the energy bar company’s environmental impacts.

She started by helping Clif Bar become the first certified organic energy bar, and then went on to redesign to the bars’ packaging to save 90,000 pounds of shrink wrap every year. But Hammond wasn’t finished. She turned her attention next to the environmental impacts that are less obvious to customers—the internal workings of its offices.

“Any time an office creates waste, it is not using resources as efficiently as possible,” says Hammond, noting that environmental responsibility also saves money. “It makes good business sense to reduce waste.”

Hammond says the first major office change at Clif Bar was to the paper supply, with a switch to 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and the installation of desk-side recycling bins. Subsequent green upgrades included purchasing wind energy credits to offset the office’s energy use, recycling or composting more than 80 percent of their waste, and creating a committee to keep environmental issues an office priority.

Offices both large and small can save money, improve morale, appeal to green consumers, and make connections with other green businesses—all by minimizing their impact on the Earth.