At Points of Light, we envision a world where it is impossible to sit on the sidelines, where every individual has the opportunity to get involved. Businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of this, too, making it easy to do good – both through the empowerment of their employees, and through executive leaders who choose to take a stand on important social issues.
Clif Bar is no stranger to this. Last year, we featured the company’s commitment to sustaining the environment through it’s employee volunteer program, CLIF® CORPS. And, the company recently took a stand in advocating for closing the gender wage gap, with its LUNA brand decision to pay $31,250 to each player of the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team to make up the difference in roster bonuses between the men’s and women’s teams.
Jenny Lawson, chief civic innovation officer spoke with Cassie Cyphers, Clif Bar’s community program manager, to learn more about their culture of giving back and social impact.
More and more, the demand from customers to have an opinion on social issues, and to engage appropriately, is a challenge for many companies. Do you view this as a risk, and how do you decide when to take a stand?
It can be a risk because we have employees in different parts of the United States, and with different backgrounds and perspectives. We struggle with supporting and ensuring that we are being sensitive to what employees care about, but also what’s right for Clif Bar & Company. I think that closing the pay gap in women’s soccer was successful because it aligned with a really strong brand that started with a very clear vision to create a product for women. The neat thing about Clif Bar is that we are beginning to take a look at each of our brands and ask, “what does this particular brand stand for, and how can we dig in and have an impact in area that’s specific to that brand?”
How do you balance aligning issues authentic to your brands with supporting employees to just be great citizens in their community?
We’re fortunate to be able to fall back on the inspiration of the programs from the founders and co-CEOs who are leading the company today. Kit Crawford’s inspiration was her mother, who volunteered a little bit every day. Her inspiration is very important to the company and it is why we support volunteering on company time. This provides us a with a broad approach and our employees with a broad perspective.
We’re at a time at Clif Bar where we can dig deeper into a specific issue or cause where we want employees to participate, and we can build their acumen around how you show up and how you work with a nonprofit. I think it grounds people, which is going to make them stronger when they decide to engage in what they’re passionate about.
Listen to the full interview between Jenny Lawson and Cassie Cyphers:
Learn more about Clif Bar’s innovative social impact programs:
- LUNA Bar’s equal pay roster bonus for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team
- Business with Purpose scholarships
- “Re-Ternship” program for nonprofit service in retirement
- Organic agricultural research chair endowments
Clif Bar & Company is a member of the Points of Light Corporate Service Council, which provides networking opportunities, best practices and new ideas that catalyze high-impact social change initiatives. To learn more about how your company could benefit from membership, connect with us at [email protected].