VBSR Logo Vermont
for Social Responsibility

Tara Pfeiffer-NorrellDear friend,

Here at VBSR we are pleased to announce a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont to offer group health insurance plans to our business members.  Now, Vermont businesses will have another choice of business associations through which to attain their health insurance. 

We offer 8 plans with very competitive premiums and a unique employee wellness program. These plans are available to all VBSR member businesses with less than 50 employees. Additionally, free wellness consultations and $250 grants are available to companies with 5 or more employees.

To view the current plans and premiums and a list of brokers, please visit www.vbsr.org.

If you have further questions regarding this membership benefit please contact VBSR's new Office Manager, Calen King at 802-862-8347 or info@vbsr.org.
Also, I hope you enjoy the many articles below about happenings at VBSR and the good work of our members.  Perhaps of particular interest to you is an article from the New York Times about the development of an economy and a community around culinary ventures up in Hardwick.


Will Patten
Executive Director
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

In This Issue
Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town - NY Times Article
VBSR Events
VBSR Legislator of the Year Awards
Welcome Calen King to VBSR
VEDA and Efficiency Vermont Team Up to Offer Efficiency Project Loans
Straw and Sustainability
Green Business Tour to Sweden - Vermont Trade Mission and Marlboro College
Bluehouse Group Wins Design Award for FindandGoSeek.net
Sovernet Communications Walks for Food Banks
Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town
New York Times Article on Hardwick, Including Vermont Soy and High Mowing Seeds

High Mowing NY Times PicTHIS town's granite companies shut down years ago and even the rowdy bars and porno theater that once inspired the nickname "Little Chicago" have gone.

Facing a Main Street dotted with vacant stores, residents of this hardscrabble community of 3,000 are reaching into its past to secure its future, betting on farming to make Hardwick the town that was saved by food.

VT Soy NY Times PicWith the fervor of Internet pioneers, young artisans and agricultural entrepreneurs are expanding aggressively, reaching out to investors and working together to create a collective strength never before seen in this seedbed of Yankee individualism.

Rob Lewis, the town manager, said these enterprises have added 75 to 100 jobs to the area in the past few years.

Rian Fried, an owner of Clean Yield Asset Management in nearby Greensboro, which has invested with local agricultural entrepreneurs, said he's never seen such cooperative effort.

"Across the country a lot of people are doing it individually but it's rare when you see the kind of collective they are pursuing," said Mr. Fried, whose firm considers social and environmental issues when investing. "The bottom line is they are providing jobs and making it possible for others to have their own business."

Networking, Social Responsibility and Service Events
VBSR Community Service Project at Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
11:00 am - 4:00 pm, Wed, Dec 3, 228 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington - Precedes the evening Get-Together at Ben & Jerry's in S. Burlington. Visit the VBSR event listing for more details. To sign up, contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347.

VBSR Get-Together Hosted by Ben & Jerry's
5:30 - 7:30 pm, Wed, Dec 3, Ben & Jerry's, 30 Community Dr, S. Burlington - Ben & Jerry's acquisition by Anglo-Dutch corporation, Unilever caused concern over whether the company's commitment to socially responsible principles would be softened. Join us to talk with the company's CEO, Walt Freese, about how Ben & Jerry's is staying true to its Vermont roots and its three-part Mission Statement while growing globally and operating in the more complex world of Unilever.  To be preceded by the VBSR Community Service Project described above.  Visit the VBSR event listing for more details.  To register, contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347.

Save the Date! 
VBSR 2009 Spring Conference
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Champlain College, Burlington, VT
Stay tuned for more details...

If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a VBSR event, contact Rita Bothfeld at 802-862-8347 or at ritab@vbsr.org.

VBSR Recognizes Three Outstanding Legislators!
VBSR presented its annual 'Legislator of the Year' awards at the Annual Fall Conference to the three legislators that have demonstrated bold leadership consistent with VBSR's policy priorities.
Topper McFaun Photo    Dick McCormack Photo      Michele Kupersmith Photo
Representative Topper McFaun of Barre Town for his leadership and vision to bring about comprehensive health care reform.

Senator Dick McCormack of Windsor County for his devotion and unyielding advocacy for innovative and sustainable energy policies and practices.  

Representative Michele Kupersmith of South Burlington for her dedication to creating in Vermont the most productive and effective workforce.  

McFaun, McCormack and Kupersmith were chosen to receive these awards by the VBSR Board of Directors after reviewing recommendations of the VBSR Public Policy Committee made up of representatives from several VBSR member businesses.

"VBSR honors and thanks these dedicated public servants for their tireless work in commitment to making Vermont the best place to do business," says VBSR's Executive Director, Will Patten. 

VBSR Welcomes Calen King to the Team
Calen King photo
Calen has joined the team at VBSR as the new Office Manager.  She comes to VBSR from Ben and Jerry's.  If you have questions about health insurance plans newly available through VBSR, contact Calen by calling 802-862-8347 or e-mailing calenk@vbsr.org 
VEDA and Efficiency Vermont
Energy Efficiency Loans Available
Efficiency Vermont
  The Vermont Economic Development Authority, in cooperation with Efficiency Vermont, is accepting applications from Vermont businesses for loans to fund energy conservation projects certified as cost-effective.

Up to $1 million is available in the low-interest Vermont Business energy Conservation Loan Program.

"Vermont businesses face serious financial challenges as energy costs in their operations have reached record levels, Efficiency Vermont's technical knowlegdge and incentives, together with VEDA's financial expertise, will provide Vermont businesses with comprehensive support to achieve enduring financial benefits through smart energy efficiency investments," said Mick Hilbert, Efficiency Vermont's business energy services manager.

The program may make loans ranging from $5,000 up to a maximum of $150,000, and may fund up to 75 percent of the cost of a project.

For more information about the program, visit HERE, or call 828-5627.
Straw and Sustainability
Green architect Joseph Cincotta flourishes in Vermont

In "The Three Little Pigs," the big, bad wolf huffs and puffs and easily blows down the first piglet's straw house. But with rising energy costs playing the wolf at the door, don't dismiss straw houses too quickly. In southern Vermont, Dale and Michele Doucette and their two sons enjoy a large, comfortable home made of straw bales stacked to surround a post-and-beam frame like a blanket.

"Straw walls typically have an R factor ranging from 30 to 50-and if you factor in 'air tightness,' they can save energy on the order of an R-70 fiberglass wall," says architect Joseph Cincotta, M.Arch. '88, who designed the Vermont straw-bale house and even helped sheathe the straw in two layers of plaster. "The typical wooden-stud wall has an R factor of about 12." (R factor is an index of an insulating material's resistance to heat transfer.) The energy efficiency of the Doucettes' straw-bale house has enabled them to leave the power grid behind; they meet their needs with solar and wind power, backed up by propane tanks.


Green Business Tour to Sweden
Vermont Trade Mission Partners With Brattleboro-based MBA Student Trip

The Marlboro MBA in Managing for Sustainability and the Vermont Global Trade Partnership are collaborating to expand trade and investment between Vermont and Sweden in areas that include renewable energy, forest products, and building design and construction. 

A combined Vermont trade mission/MBA study group will travel to Sweden in December 2008 for a series of site visits, seminars, and business matchmaking activities. 

Sweden - a world leader in these areas - enjoys one of the highest standards of living along with per-capita energy consumption at only about 2/3 of US levels, yet has a cold climate and population density similar to Vermont's. 

Vermont is a pioneer among US states in environmental protection, energy policy, and economic development that sustains a high quality of life.

Bluehouse Group Wins Design Award For FindandGoSeek.net
Website Scores Silver in 3rd Annual W3 Competition

The International Academy of the Visual Arts has recognized Bluehouse Group with a silver award in the family and parenting category for the website it created for its client FindandGoSeek.net.  The W3 Awards honor outstanding websites, online marketing programs, and Web video created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers, and creators worldwide.

Sovernet Communications Holds Second Annual Harvest Walk  
Teams of Walkers Raise $12,400 for the Vermont and New Hampshire Food Banks
Sovernet Logo
BELLOWS FALLS, VT. (October 9, 2008) - On September 27th, Sovernet Communications, sponsored its second annual Harvest Walk to benefit the Vermont and New Hampshire Foodbanks and raised over $12,400.
The Vermont and New Hampshire Foodbanks distributed close to 9 million pounds of food last year. Every $25 allows the Foodbanks to acquire and distribute 75 pounds of food to the hungry. The Foodbanks will be busy again this year and Sovernet is proud to partner and support them.


Newsletter Sponsorship

Ef VT Click Here logo

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

Welcome New VBSR Members!
Edward E. Jaffe, FUTURIST

Jeffrey Fournier

Green Cab VT

Greenmont Farms

Brandi E. Guthrie

Harry Hunt Architects

Integrated Solar Applications

Kathryn Blume

Johnson State College

Domtar Corporation

Liz Lovely, Inc.

Helping Hand Database Design

VBSR Bookshelf
The Green Collar Economy

by Van Jones
with Ariane Conrad

Book Green Collar Economy

VBSR Bookshelf Information Courtesy of Northshire Bookstore:

2007 Employer Guide Banner
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401

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

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