VBSR Logo Vermont
Businesses
for Social Responsibility
January
2008
E-News
Rita BevaccoA Message from Rita Bevacco, VBSR Program Manager:

VBSR members are creating a new business model for Vermont. In today's business climate, VBSR's values and mission are more relevant and powerful than ever, and 2008 is our call to action to challenge you to become more engaged and involved!

To better serve you this year, we are taking our member programs and services to a new level:
  • We are enhancing our events, and expanding them to better serve every county in Vermont
  • We are enlisting the help of Ambassadors around the state to help us stay connected with SR news and business developments in your area
  • We are creating ways to connect you with other members in your business sector to address your unique needs
You can become more active by visiting www.vbsr.org frequently and contributing to on-line forum discussions; participating on one of our event planning committees; watching legislative developments and helping us offer public testimony; attending VBSR events to connect with your peers and talk about business successes and challenges; participating on workshop panels at our annual conferences, and much more.

We also need to hear from you. This is your organization, and we want to know how we can serve you better. So jump in, talk to us, and help us to help you make your VBSR membership work for you. We look forward to a great year!
Sincerely,

Rita Bevacco
Program Manager, VBSR
ritab@vbsr.org
Public Policy
VBSR Legislative Reception
Thurs, Feb 7, 5 - 7pm
The Black Door Bistro and Cafe
44 Main St, 3rd Flr, Montpelier
Hors D'Oeuvres and Cash Bar

Mingle with legislators, and share your business perspective and your legislative priorities for the 2008 Legislative session.  Please RSVP to Michele at 802-862-8347 or micheled@vbsr.org

Event sponsored by: National Life GroupWashington Electric Coop

Networking, Social Responsibility and Service Events

Save the Date - VBSR Spring Conference and 2008 VBSR Terry Ehrich Awards Dinner
  • VBSR Terry Ehrich Awards Dinner, Tues evening, May 13, 2008
  • VBSR Conference, all day, Wed, May 14, 2008, "Business Climate Change," Champlain College, Burlington

VBSR Spring Conference - Calls for Proposals
Planning is underway for VBSR's 2008 Spring Conference, "Business Climate Change," to be held on Wednesday, May 14, at Champlain College in Burlington.  If you haven't already, you will be receiving via postal mail our Call for Proposals for the conference workshops.  Please send all proposals and ideas to RitaB@vbsr.org or 862-8347 to discuss by Feb 8.

VBSR Circle Groups
Southern Vermont Circle Group
Wed, Jan 30, 7:00 pm
New Chapter, 90 Technology Dr, Brattleboro
RSVP: Sara Newmark - snewmark@newchapter.com
or Julie Lineberger - Julie@LineSync.com

Message from Julie Lineberger, with LineSync Architecture, host of Southern Vermont Circle Group and Chair of VBSR Board:

A book group was formed to read and discuss titles in the "Sustainable Business" field.  In the first two meetings we shared content from relevant books we have each read. The discussion has been rich and valuable. The group is still forming and hopes to benefit each participant with concrete ways of increasing Socially Responsible practices within the business setting.   A current topic is measuring our SR Practices.  With this, our third meeting, we are evolving into a southern Vermont VBSR Circle Group.  Please join us!


Burlington Circle Group
Next three meetings are set for:
Wed, Feb 20; Wed, Mar 12; Wed, Apr 9
All are held at 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Seventh Generation, 60 Lake Street, Burlington
RSVP: Kelly Johnson, Dinse Knapp & McAndrew, kjohnson@dinse.com

Message from Leigh Cole an Attorney at Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, the Burlington Circle Group host company:
 
Our firm is pleased to continue hosting a VBSR Circle group for a second year in 2008. The focus of the Circle is to identify how companies and organizations whose products or services may not be inherently socially responsible can evaluate our level of social responsibility and identify areas for improvement. During 2008 we would like to use what we learned in 2007 to create a self-evaluation tool for VBSR members to evaluate their baseline level of social responsibility, and identify areas for potential improvement. We plan to focus on one topic each month, reviewing and finalizing a survey or questionnaire for each topic during that month's Circle meeting. By the end of 2008 we will have created a set of questionnaires which together will cover the spectrum of social responsibility that we have been discussing.
VBSR Connecting Students with Vermont Businesses

Are you looking for some fresh faces in your business?  Is growth on your horizon?  Would you be willing to create paid internship positions in your company in exchange for creative energy and potential long-term hiring prospects? 

VBSR has received a grant through the Vermont Department of Labor to connect Vermont college students with Vermont businesses as part of the effort to keep our college graduates in state.

If you are interested in having a student placed with you, contact VBSR's Executive Director, Will Patten at willp@vbsr.org or all 802-862-8347.
 
Burlington College Gets a New Dose of Benefits

Recycle North Cmty Svc EventEffective January 1, 2008, Burlington College employees and their dependents enjoy new health benefits that will keep its members healthy and help those with chronic or catastrophic illnesses get the special attention they need. This new initiative is in keeping with the College's role as a responsible small business organization in the community, providing high-standard benefits to all its employees.

Read more...
Creating a New Solution for Compensation
Northshire Books
Chris Morrow, General Manager of Northshire Bookstore Shares Key to Attracting and Retaining Good Employees

by Linda M. Castellitto, Bookselling This Week on Jan 9th, 2008

Hiring and retaining smart, well-read, personable booksellers is one key to staying competitive in the marketplace. While the ability to pay high salaries and offer bonuses and perks can go a long way toward attracting and keeping qualified employees, that's not the only solution to the compensation conundrum. By thinking creatively, and strategically, about the intangible benefits of working in a bookstore, store owners and managers can find ways to show employees they are valued, and that the bookstore is a great place to work, now and for years to come.

Chris Morrow, general manager of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, can attest to this approach. The Livable Jobs Toolkit from Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), a nonprofit association founded in 1976, is an important element of his store management strategy.

Read more...

Details About the Livable Jobs Toolkit...
 
When and How to Buy Carbon Credits...

Excerpted from Burlington Free Press, My Turn, published December '07, by Will Raap, Founder and Chairman of Gardener's Supply

...If industry is the biggest source of greenhouse gases, what can business do to minimize the emissions we cause while still creating good jobs and supporting a healthy economy? Gardener's Supply is asking this question, and the answers we are getting are revealing.

This year we hired a sophisticated audit of our electrical energy use and installed new energy-saving equipment and systems resulting in immediate savings. These changes will save us nearly $50,000 per year and reduce our CO2 emissions by 100 tons per year. What if every state building also did this? Vermont would save millions of dollars and reduce carbon emissions by tens of thousands of tons each year.

We also hired another Vermont firm this year to do a comprehensive audit of our carbon emissions so we will know what our total carbon footprint is, how much we need to reduce so we can reach emissions reduction targets, and what our best strategies are to reduce or offset our remaining emissions. After we invest in energy efficiency and waste reduction we still may need to acquire carbon credits to achieve our carbon emission goals.

This, I believe, is the correct prioritization of steps for business to reduce carbon emissions. First, determine your baseline and measure your progress. Make improvements with energy efficiency upgrades, acquire new energy from renewable sources, and only then mitigate remaining emissions with carbon credits from creditable projects that employ accepted international carbon credit standards (like Gold Standard and CCBS). I believe this formula also is the right process to guide Vermont.

Will Raap of Shelburne is founder and chairman of Gardener's Supply Company.

Read more...
VBSR Members Get Free Listing in Green Mountain Green Pages

Green Mountain PagesClick here to get your business listing in the Green Mountain Green Pages with an expected circulation of 20,000. 

Enter your e-mail address and either update your information or create a new listing.

The Green Mountain Green Pages are brought to you by the Editors of Green Living: A Practical Journal for friends of the Environment.
Our Newsletter Sponsor
Efficiency Vermont

Efficiency Vermont
255 So. Champlain St., Suite 7
Burlington, VT 05401
888-921-5990

www.EfficiencyVermont.org



INTERESTED IN SPONSORING VBSR'S NEWSLETTER?  E-mail Carina Driscoll at carinad@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to secure a space today.


Welcome New
VBSR Members!
Brown Computer Solutions, Inc

Farrell Distributing Corp

Filkorn Public Relations

Flood Financial Services, Inc


Harvey / Severance LLC


Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home


One Earth Enterprises

Polkadot Patch Boutique

Sweet Mango Tours LLC


Course Opportunity

Redefining Small Business
Instructor: John Abrams
Feb 9 and 10, $300
Yestermorrow, Warren, VT
 
The 2 day class will be a radical business primer full of stories, activities, and information about making everyday business a thrilling adventure.

This course is for businesspeople who want to think together about how to create living, thriving, prosperous businesses that are positive contributors to community life and that honor the employees who create the wealth that is essential to doing good business.

It is based in part on John Abram's book The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place, the eight business cornerstones around which the book is structured, and his thirty years running a design/build business.
 
UVM and Champlain participate in
Focus the Nation

UVM Focus the Nation
Sunday January 27 - Friday February 1, 2008

Focus the Nation is a national educational initiative of faculty, staff, students and community members at over a thousand colleges, universities, and high schools in the United States to collaboratively engage in a nationwide, interdisciplinary discussion about "Global Warming Solutions for America."  National advisors to FtN include David Orr, Billy Parish, and Van Jones. 

Events at UVM will include a Burlington Design Charrette day on January 30, faculty lead Teach-Ins, workshops,  roundtable discussions, and visually engaging "Image Events" such as carbon calculators and art installations.  For more information, visit UVM's Focus the Nation Page.

Champlain will be hosting a Sustainability Expo on Tues., Jan 29, 4-7pm.  For more information visit Champlain's Focus the Nation page



VBSR Bookshelf
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

By Ha-Joon Chang


Bad Samaritans
Both justice and common sense, Chang argues, demand that we reevaluate the policies we force on nations that are struggling to follow in our footsteps.
Global Garage Member Discount Special!
Global Garage Sale

Global Garage Sale  specializes in selling quality items on eBay for local individuals, businesses and non-profit groups.  They are now offering a 'January Special' that averages out to a 15% discount for all employees of VBSR member companies.

Just bring your item to their Winooski or Williston store through the month of January.  They'll give you a free eBay appraisal for your treasures.  Be sure to mention VBSR in order to receive your discount.

For more information visit:
www.GlobalGarageSale.net

CONTACT US
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401
802-862-8347

Our mission is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens.

We are commited to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.  For more information about our organization visit info@vbsr.org

Membership Information