Running with the Big Dogs: CSR in Small Business - A blog by Ashley Jablow

My name is Ashley Jablow, and my goal for The Changebase is to build a platform where each of us can participate in a discussion of what positive change looks like in our communities and around the world.
Nov 10, 2010 1:27 PM ET
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Running with the Big Dogs: CSR in Small Business

Often when we talk about corporate social responsibility, we assume people are talking about “the big dogs” – companies like Proctor and Gamble, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and of course Walmart.

And certainly these powerhouses dictate a lot of what gets discussed, watched, and measured, if only because of their sheer scale and impact on the global business community.

But what about companies that don’t fit into the same tiers as these big players? What does sustainability or CSR look like for small and medium-sized businesses?

Recently I attended a talk at Mills College featuring the EVP of Marketing at Clif Bar and Company, Michelle Ferguson.

Before the talk I didn’t necessarily think of Clif Bar as a small company, but in fact it only employs 250 people. What the company might lack in size, however, it makes up for in passion for its consumers and its products. Whether through in-person events, an accessible social media presence, or high-touch consumer service, it’s clear that Clif Bar really does value the people who buy its products (and doesn’t just think of us Luna and Clif Bar eaters as a transaction to be managed).

And, in large part thanks to its founder Gary Erickson, Clif Bar and Company also boasts a very well-rounded, active and engaged sustainability program (for example, choosing to use only all organic and natural ingredients because it’s healthier for us and healthier for the environment).

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