Clif Bar & Co., a manufacturer of all-natural and organic energy and nutrition foods and drinks, has launched a “Cool Commute” program for its employees.
The Cool Commute incentive program pays $5,000 to employees who switch to biodiesel (B100) cars for their commutes. In addition to a cash incentive for biodiesel, Clif Bar also will pay $5,000 to its people who buy a hybrid vehicle.
Along with incentives for driving more fuel-efficient cars, the Cool Commute program awards points to Clif Bar people who carpool or leave their cars at home and opt instead to walk, bike or take public transportation to work. Points can be redeemed for tax-free public transit vouchers or gift cards from Whole Foods Market, Peet’s Coffee and other local green businesses. Points can also be used to support environmental groups such as American Forests, Clean Air-Cool Planet and NativeEnergy.
We found that collectively the folks at our company consumed about 29,500 gallons of gasoline commuting more than 700,000 miles to and from work in 2005. By encouraging our people to rely less on fossil fuels in their commutes, we can make a difference as a business when it comes to arguably the single biggest issue facing us all—global warming.—Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar staff ecologist and co-developer of the Cool Commute effort.
Former Vice President Al Gore visited the company for the launch of the program at the company’s annual meeting and gave a talk on global warming, during which he challenged the company to continue its efforts to reduce its impact on global warming.
Gore encouraged other businesses to also think beyond quarterly earnings and consider the long term value of environmental stewardship. He said most businesses now “treat the environment as an externality,” which results in decisions that “ignore or are actively harmful to the planet.”
Cool Commute is the first phase of a larger Clif Bar initiative that will eventually help employees address their environmental impact at home as well as at work, according to Jennifer Freitas, the company’s wellness advocate and co-developer with Hammond of the Cool Commute program.