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Clif Bar Goes Greener


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AS THE EFFECTS OF global warming become increasingly apparent, an East Bay company has begun rewarding its employees for low-emission commutes.
Clif Bar & Co., the Berkeley-based energy bar–maker, recently created a Cool Commute incentive program, offering $5,000 to employees who switch to a biodiesel car or purchase a high-mileage hybrid vehicle.
“Last summer, a bike-to-work day sparked a discussion about how our employees commute to work,” says Jennifer Freitas, wellness advocate for Clif Bar. “We had been discussing giving hybrid rewards. [Now] we have an even bigger vision to help our employees green up all aspects of their lives. This is a good start to reaching those goals.”
Clif Bar is the first American company to award both hybrid and biodiesel vehicle benefits to its employees. The program also gives points to employees who carpool or leave their cars at home and walk, bicycle, or take public transportation to work. Points can be redeemed for gift cards from local “green” businesses, such as Whole Foods Market and Peet’s Coffee.
The program’s launch provoked a visit from an environmental celebrity. Former vice-president-turned-movie-star Al Gore (pictured with Clif Bar CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin) made a surprise appearance at a company meeting in December. “There is a hunger in the business community for practical solutions for how to put environmental goals into action,” Gore told 180 employees at the company’s Fifth Street headquarters. “Companies are searching for pioneers that are examples of positive change.”

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