Clif Bar's Crusade
Inc.|Winter 2020 - 2021
They could’ve taken the money and run. Instead, they became evangelists in the corporate sustainability movement.
By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

DO-BETTERS

Erickson asked staff to discuss why they loved certain products and companies. “That helped us realize we could form a different business model,” he says.

Gary Erickson had grown his all-natural energy-bar outfit, Clif Bar, under Friedmanite influence, understanding that the goal was to increase value for shareholders, period. But on April 17, 2000, he walked out on the scheduled sale of Clif Bar to Quaker, turning down a $120 million payday and instead plunging the company $60 million into debt.

His reclamation became a reckoning. He and his wife, Kit Crawford, who’d been an owner and board member since they were married in 1994, began to think. As she puts it: “We have a short time on this planet, so let’s turn this company into something more than just selling widgets, just to make more money and grow and grow and grow. For what?”

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